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#414539 - 01/17/09 09:23 PM Exercising outside the dojo
Fabien Offline
Stranger

Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 4
Loc: Canada
In the best of worlds, Aikido is practiced in a dojo with a partner but often the job, or school, or personnal life gets in the way of our attendance to the classes.

What are the exercises that could be practiced at home ?

Thank you in advance for your advices on the matter.


Edited by Fabien (01/17/09 09:25 PM)
_________________________
"Yield, and be perfect bend, and be straight" -Lao Tzu, Tao te King Chap. XXII

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#414540 - 01/17/09 10:04 PM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: Fabien]
Ames Offline
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Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
Well, in the Yoshinkan, we have the Kihon Dosa, so that's what I personally work on.

There are also the techiques popularized by Tohei sensei, which you can find in the book "Ki in everyday life".

A lot of folks take the time outside the dojo to work with the bokken (if that's something you've studied). Or you can work related things, like flexibility, breath work, meditating, cardio, the right kind of strength training etc.

Personally, I've just gotten back into the Aiki arts after a break, so I'm working the kihon dosa everyday, doing breathing exercises (mostly taken from Systema), and using my tanren bo.

Hopefully other members can weigh in, because it's always interesting to hear what others do outside the dojo.

--Chris
_________________________
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."
--Basho

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#414541 - 01/18/09 12:00 AM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: Ames]
Fabien Offline
Stranger

Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 4
Loc: Canada
What is the Kihon Dosa ?
_________________________
"Yield, and be perfect bend, and be straight" -Lao Tzu, Tao te King Chap. XXII

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#414542 - 01/18/09 07:00 AM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: Fabien]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
Unsoku & Tandoku series from Shodokan/Tomiki Aikido. They are a series of solo movement excercises Kenji Tomiki devised for his Aikido. If stories are true, he came up with these while in a small prison cell (he was detained by the Soviet Army for over 3 years).

Unsoku & Tandoku:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=3DF_Y6YbvnA
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#414543 - 01/24/09 11:47 PM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: Prizewriter]
Fabien Offline
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Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 4
Loc: Canada
Unsoku and Tandoku seem to be the kind of exercise I am looking for. The thing is, I am still a newbie and simply by looking at the video I am quite certain to miss some important points. Do you have more detailed information about it ?

And what is the Kihon Dosa ?
_________________________
"Yield, and be perfect bend, and be straight" -Lao Tzu, Tao te King Chap. XXII

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#414544 - 01/25/09 11:13 AM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: Fabien]
Ames Offline
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Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
The Kihon Dosa are the basic solo exercises from Yoshinkan Aikido that are done before every class. Here is a video example of them:

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=urZChurQIp8

They can also all be performed with a bokken. For more information of how they are specifically done, I would suggest the book 'Aikido: The Complete Basic Techniques', by Gozo Shioda, as there is a good explanation of how to perfrom them there.

--Chris
_________________________
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."
--Basho

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#414545 - 01/25/09 11:59 AM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: Fabien]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
Finer points? How long do you have lol!

You should try and find a Tomiki/Shodokan class. Go for a few lessons if you can, and you will learn the basics.

I would just worry about Unsoku for now. Here is a more detailed explanation:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=EWvkQcpGywA

Also consider doing something like Iaido if you can. I know Aikido-ka who do Japanese sword arts, they say it really helps them.
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#414546 - 01/25/09 12:26 PM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: Prizewriter]
Ames Offline
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Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
Yeah, I'll have to second Prize's suggestion of studying a sword art--it really can help improve your Aikido. Something like Iaido might be good.

Also, as long as you have gotten the basics of sword handling from Aikido (posture, not overinvolving the shoulders), I think tanren bo can be an excellent exercise to do solo. Here is an article which shows the basics:

http://ejmas.com/pt/ptart_taylor_1200.htm

Although Kim Taylor does say it, I just want to make it clear that you really should practice these exercises with a bokken first and get the hang of them.

--Chris
_________________________
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."
--Basho

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#414547 - 01/25/09 04:49 PM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: Ames]
iaibear Offline
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Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
Please be aware when combining study of Aikido and Iaido that the placement of your feet and the squareness of your shoulders will vary, depending on styles.

In Muso Shinden Iaido your shoulders and both feet point straight forward. In Aikido the pictures of Osensei show him slightly leading with one shoulder while his trailing foot points outward. Might not seem like much, but it can sure screw up an Iaido kata.

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#414548 - 01/26/09 02:37 PM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: iaibear]
Ames Offline
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Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
I've heard my Sensei say much the same thing, iaibear. He says that iaido helps for the hands and arms, but not the footwork. Jodo, so I'm told, is good for this aspect (footwork) as they are very much alike (he used the words "the same").

So Iaido for the hands, and Jodo for the feet then, I guess.

--Chris
_________________________
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."
--Basho

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#414549 - 01/28/09 12:12 AM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: Ames]
AdamAlexander Offline
Member

Registered: 01/27/09
Posts: 30
I think as long as you're doing something, you're doing well. I don't believe there's a right/wrong way to practice (on your own.) Nor do I believe that it's better or worse to do the stuff that you're curious about at that time.

However, I wonder why you wouldn't be working on your test techniques.


Edited by AdamAlexander (01/28/09 12:14 AM)

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#414550 - 01/28/09 08:13 PM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: AdamAlexander]
Ames Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
Well, I think the wrong way to practice would be continuously doing a technique or movement incorrectly to the point that the wrong way became ingrained in the muscle memory.

Regarding the test technique comment, for me when I'm at home I don't have a partner to practice with, so I focus on solo training. Also, to be perfectly honest, I think solo training is an important and far too underrated aspect of success.

--Chris
_________________________
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."
--Basho

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#414551 - 01/28/09 08:30 PM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: Ames]
AdamAlexander Offline
Member

Registered: 01/27/09
Posts: 30
Quote:

Well, I think the wrong way to practice would be continuously doing a technique or movement incorrectly to the point that the wrong way became ingrained in the muscle memory.




When I let go of that belief, my training really opened up.
_________________________
Always the man in whom thought thrusts ahead of thought, allows the goal to move far off.

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#414552 - 01/29/09 10:01 AM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: AdamAlexander]
Ames Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
Care to explain that a little more? What belief are you talking about?

--Chris


Edited by Ames (01/29/09 10:02 AM)
_________________________
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."
--Basho

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#414553 - 01/29/09 05:04 PM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: Ames]
AdamAlexander Offline
Member

Registered: 01/27/09
Posts: 30
The only truth is that which you believe. If you believe that you're unable to unlock the techniques, then that is reality. If, however, you believe that you can unlock them and commit your energy to doing so, then you can.

Adam Alexander
_________________________
Always the man in whom thought thrusts ahead of thought, allows the goal to move far off.

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#414554 - 01/29/09 05:12 PM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: AdamAlexander]
Ames Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
I'm still not understanding here. What does that have to do with

Quote:

Well, I think the wrong way to practice would be continuously doing a technique or movement incorrectly to the point that the wrong way became ingrained in the muscle memory.




Being a "belief" that if one lets go of their "training [will] really open up"?

How does a focus on the proper execution of technique, including posture, 'softness' etc, mean a lack of 'committing' oneself to unlocking the techniques (as you seem to be implying)?

Perhaps I'm having trouble following you here because you talking in an overly generalized way, so if you could provide a more focused, pragmatic response, that would help.

--Chris
_________________________
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."
--Basho

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#414555 - 01/29/09 05:19 PM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: Ames]
AdamAlexander Offline
Member

Registered: 01/27/09
Posts: 30
Quote:

because you talking in an overly generalized way




Maybe. I think we'll both have to be comfortable with that.
_________________________
Always the man in whom thought thrusts ahead of thought, allows the goal to move far off.

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#414556 - 01/29/09 05:26 PM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: AdamAlexander]
Ames Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
Hmmm...okay. The thing is, it's rather difficult to speak to anything you are saying. Are you or are you not disagreeing with this statement:

Quote:

Well, I think the wrong way to practice would be continuously doing a technique or movement incorrectly to the point that the wrong way became ingrained in the muscle memory.




and if so, can you support your argument with anything more than overly generalized platitudes, because they tend not to go very far here, and also tend to kill threads.

I know you are new here, and don't want to turn you off the forum, but you should maybe read past threads and get a sense of how this forum works.

--Chris


Edited by Ames (01/29/09 05:31 PM)
_________________________
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."
--Basho

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#414557 - 01/29/09 06:56 PM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: Ames]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Quote:

When I let go of that belief, my training really opened up.


Yeah, I thought that was rather vague too...

Quote:

Well, I think the wrong way to practice would be continuously doing a technique or movement incorrectly to the point that the wrong way became ingrained in the muscle memory.


Firstly, I don't put much stock in the whole idea of "muscle memory". I think it would be more accurate to refer to it as ingrained habitual postural alignment and movement - because the "memory" that is being referred to, is a function of the brain and nervous system, rather than "muscles".

Secondly, I don't buy into the whole "technique" idea. If we were discussing jujitsu, then yes. IMO, Aikido is less about "technique" than it is about changing the way you move. The "shapes" and "forms" of what appears to be "techniques", in Aikido, is really a way of moving (effortlessly) - whilst under varying amounts of loading forces from uke, the ground and gravity.

On a side note, there are good logical reasons for teaching base jujitsu techniques first, before teaching aiki. But I believe it can also work the other way - aiki first, then jujitsu. Ultimately, you'd need both.

The reason I say Aikido is not "technique" is due to the fact that simple, "basic" solo exercises, performed statically, (such as funekogi, the "universal exercise", etc.) are used as part of the movement within a "technique". As a simple example, katate tori kokyu nage, where uke grabs your left wrist with their right hand, and you irimi-tenkan and throw forward. The "throw forward" movement is essentially funekogi.

IOW, the link between solo exercises and actual "technique" is more than a cursory "warm up routine". The solo exercises - tandouku undo/kihon dosa (which should rightly be called "kiso" or "conditioning" exercises), provide the basis for changing the way we move - whether it is doing a "technique" or simply "normal everyday movement". That's why it's called "conditioning" exercises, because it ingrains and habituates a specific mode of mind-body coordinated movement.

The confusing aspect for most people, is that Aikido "techniques", like karate kata, are part body conditioning and part actual technique - performed dynamically (i.e. whilst moving and whilst under load).

So, back on topic... the exercises I would do outside of the dojo would include funekogi (at the very least), the "universal exercise", ikkyo undo, the "wrist stretches", suburi, etc. - i.e. all the basic "warm up" exercises that are usually done at the start of the class.

As for why and how these *should* be done... that is another topic for discussion.

If you're imaginative enough, you could even practice kokyu-ho by yourself, using a Swiss ball and a wall (or even bungee cords). In fact, if you know what you're meant to be practising, you'd find various uses for walls, door jambs, fridge/car doors, kitchen drawers and just about anything you can find around the house.


Edited by eyrie (01/29/09 06:58 PM)

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#414558 - 01/29/09 07:52 PM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: eyrie]
Ames Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
eyrie, I pretty much agree with your post. I think that any difference here is mostly semantic here.

I use 'muscle memory' because that is the common parlance, but you're right in that the actual muscle itself doesn't hold memory.

Regarding the 'technique' thing, I wasn't really speaking about a specific 'technique', like shiho nage or what have you. In this context I meant 'technique' as the coming together of posture (alignment), timing, breath, not something from the syllabus.

What I was trying to get at was that an incorrect practice would be one done with 'poor technique', say swinging a sword by over engaging the shoulder muscles, or performing funekogi with the spine held at an awkward angle and tensing the biceps. This is the kind of thing to watch out for.

But I agree 'aiki' can be contained in a technique, but just because the technique you are practicing comes from an Aikido dojo, it doesn't mean there is any 'aiki' in it. It can be full or empty, and the quickest way to make it empty is to think of it as a 'technique'.

--Chris
_________________________
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."
--Basho

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#414559 - 01/29/09 11:01 PM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: eyrie]
Fabien Offline
Stranger

Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 4
Loc: Canada
Quote:


As for why and how these *should* be done... that is another topic for discussion.




In fact, that is exactly the question I am asking ; how to correctly do these exercises ?

I must also admit that your point of using house appliance and walls to practice seems to be really interresting. I would like to know more about it, if possible.
_________________________
"Yield, and be perfect bend, and be straight" -Lao Tzu, Tao te King Chap. XXII

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#414560 - 01/30/09 02:16 PM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: Fabien]
AdamAlexander Offline
Member

Registered: 01/27/09
Posts: 30
Quote:

In fact, that is exactly the question I am asking ; how to correctly do these exercises ?




Just practice. People can give you all the tips in the world, but it still doesn't mean anything. Occasionally, your interpretation meets their intention and you gain something. However, if you stop and wait for the right words, you're going to lose too much time that could be applied productively to training.

Just do. If you focus and train diligently, you will come to understand the movements. The recipe is the same whether or not you have a qualified teacher. A good teacher just helps clear obstructions here and there... but you'll be training for some time before you're ready to start fixing mistakes.

Adam Alexander
Colorado Springs
_________________________
Always the man in whom thought thrusts ahead of thought, allows the goal to move far off.

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#414561 - 01/30/09 03:56 PM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: AdamAlexander]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
Quote:

in fact, that is exactly the question I am asking; how to correctly do these exercises ?



If you just do your own best guess, you might be practicing doing something incorrectly. Sorry to break this to you, but it is true.
Example, if I were to practice my Aikido "cuts" the way Iaido teaches "cuts" (both done with a bokken BTW) I would be teaching my memory and body the wrong thing.


Edited by iaibear (01/30/09 04:02 PM)

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#414562 - 01/30/09 09:57 PM Re: Exercising outside the dojo [Re: iaibear]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
@Fabien,

I don't know how long you've been training for, how often you train, or what level you're at. I can only infer from your questions, that you are a beginner... aren't we all?

So anything I say may not make any sense to you. However, I can generally and safely say that all of these exercises deal with the forces of weight (gravity), the ground reaction force, and imaginary (read "vector") forces in 6 basic directions - front/back, left/right, up/down. It's how you use those forces to do the work that's the "key"... pun intended.

Although I agree with Adam to a point, that there is no right/wrong way to practice, and that any practice is better than no practice at all, I'd cæveat that by saying, at least by being cognizant of the *what* that is meant to be trained helps greatly.

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