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To train or not to train that is the ?
2003/6/4 9:44
From Missouri
村民 :: Villager
Posts: 96
Okay i do train ocassionally with a study group but since i can't practice with anyone hardly at all except once a week I have decided to stop training on my own pretty much and just do it ocassionally untill i can recive proper insturction. The idea is this don't train don't form bad habbits. Is this approach a good idea or in the long run will it be my undewing? Any thoughts on this?

Posted on: 2003/8/8 16:32
Tim Craig
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Re: To train or not to train that is the ?
Just Passing Through
2003/4/6 11:52
From Gunma, Japan
村民 :: Villager
Posts: 3
Good question. You are right that if you constantly train using the wrong body movement and entrenching bad habits then your taijutsu will not be as good as it could be.

Practice makes perfect (lots of it though). I would suggest you concentrate on, for example, sanshin and kihon for your self training. If your instructor is good he/she wont mind correcting your movement in the lessons and offering advice on how you can improve your movement for your own training.

As you get better you will start to feel what is good and what is not and will be able to start compensating for it yourself. Try practicing in front of a mirror and watch your back and shoulders for posture, are you overextending, are you dropping your guard, are your knees twisting inwards etc...etc.

You will learn more sometimes by figuring out certain aspects of the movement for yourself than becoming to dependant on people showing you and trying to mimic them. Hope this helps......and good luck.

(oop's double posted .......sorry....

Posted on: 2003/8/8 17:24
Simon Morris
Gunma, Japan
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Kutaki Postmaster
2003/2/4 5:15
From Ann Arbor, MI, USA
村民 :: Villager
Posts: 237
Practice makes perfect (lots of it though).

Nope. Perfect practice makes perfect. There is a difference.

I would suggest you concentrate on, for example, sanshin and kihon for your self training.

I would suggest you practice UKEMI. You can do it completely by yourself. The feedback mechanism is also very acute (e.g. if it hurts, it's wrong )

Unless you are seeing a teacher regularly who can give you feedback about your sanshin and kihon happo, I personally DO NOT recommend that you "practice" them. This will only lead to bad habits, which could take years to undo.

Practice ukemi. I think that most of the people that I've seen over the years can only roll in "two dimensions." (e.g. They are doing a front roll so their momentum is carrying them head over tail forward.) Those who are good (e.g. Shiraishi-sensei, Bill Atkins and his students, Jeff Mueller, etc.) actually roll in "three dimensions"!!! (As they roll forward, their spine is twisting in a different direction!)

Learning to twist your spine at any stage of a roll actually allows you to change directions in mid-air (or at any point on the ground)! It's absolutely amazing to see it done.

It's also extremely difficult and rarely understood, imo. If you can learn to do this, however, all other "kihon" fall into place, imo. This is actually a strange concept--that practicing only ukemi for many years can actually make you a good puncher, kicker, grappler, etc. It may seem counter-intuitive, but believe me, it's real.

Good luck!


Posted on: 2003/8/9 3:15
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Re: alone....
I agree with Ben... Ukemi, ukemi, ukemi. Once you get good at basic ukemi keep challenging yourself and pushing your ukemi more and more.

You can't go wrong becoming an ukemi-wizard.

Posted on: 2003/8/9 3:47
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Ukemi & San-Shin
Permanent Village Fixture
2003/2/1 12:06
From Northeast Pa, USA
村民 :: Villager
Posts: 271

JeffMueller wrote:
I agree with Ben... Ukemi, ukemi, ukemi.

I knew I was forgetting something!

Seriously, though, I must disagree ever-so-slightly with Shidoshi's Cole and Mueller. I'm in a "once a week" mode and have been for some time (though, quite often, less). [Salt alert -- I'm nowhere near Shidoshi status. But I am forced to train alone since I can't make it to the Dojo any more than once a week.]

If you're seeing a Shidoshi regularly, then practice Shan-Shin -- but don't do it in a vacuum. (The Kihon would be difficult at best since they are designed with two people in mind). Keep good notes. Ask yourself questions and write them down. Find the little things that "don't feel right" or "don't feel natural". Take them with you when you go see your Shidoshi and ask about them. (This will do wonders for your body-awareness.)

As an aside, if you like self-improvement stuff keep track of any and all emotion and affect (I'm being redundant here) that pop up during training as well (this applies to solo and dojo training). This last one is based on solid psychology, but I don't have the reference handy at the moment. If you're interested in the topic, go to my site and follow the academic papers link. Nearly all of my "martial arts and psychology" papers have that reference in them.

Make sure you you get feedback on your movement. Get him (or her) to watch your San Shin and comment on it. If you get "regular check ups" you won't stray too far -- and it can do wonders for your Taijutsu.

Very important -- ask your Shidoshi what you can work on. Your Shidsohi will know you better than anyone on this list, and because of that they will be able to tell you what to work on -- or to not work on anything. It may be that you're stuck doing "Yoko Aruki Drills" (personal experience talking ) for the next couple months so that you can get the San Shin / Shoshin no Kata down properly.

That's a good thing in my book.

Do something everyday unless you're specificly told otherwise. It's real easy to get out of the habit of training, especially if you can't make it to a formal dojo regularly.

I have personally discovered an interesting phenomenon in my training at home -- I seem to move much better in the Dojo than at my own home. This, to me, is dangerous (I can see it now -- "Hold on Mr. Mugger -- we need to go to my Dojo ..." ) so my "personal thing" is to track that down. So it's also good for personal growth, but maybe that's just me ...

Well, time to go practice what I preach ...

Posted on: 2003/8/9 5:01
John C. Price
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Re: Ukemi & San-Shin
2003/7/26 13:48
村民 :: Villager
Posts: 81
I was not training with any dojo for some time - several years, and I needed to ensure that I would not become a total mortal due to my lack of training.

I couldn’t work out practicing throws locks etc by myself so I had to do all the movements that require an opponent in my head every day.

Each day I would take some time (while driving seemed to work well for me) to go over specific techniques in my head... whatever technique came to mind. In addition I would think of new movements and practice them in my head... then when I had the opportunity I would try them out with someone. Many times I had to go back to the drawing board - but several times I realized movements and techniques that worked great based on the principles of movement.

The important thing - like the others have stated is to not continually practice movements that would instill bad habits.

Ukemi is. There is no point in even saying you "know taijutsu" unless you know ukemi. Ukemi IS taijutsu. It’s all the same stuff - awareness of your body and its relationship with everything around you - and how to move while always being centered.

So, I continued to do a lot of rolls falls and general good posture work. But I didn’t do Kihon or san shin as I wasn’t sure of my movements.

I threw knives to practice my kamae. (Btw if you want to learn to SOLIDLY transition from Kamae to Kamae - throwing knives is a great exercise)

I have recently got back onto the mat and into the dojo - and have been told on numerous occasions that no one would have guessed that I had not been training for as long as I did. It was obvious that I hadn’t been in practice with many movements - but many are amazed that I can remember and still do so much after the nearly 7 years I went without being in a dojo.

Here are the things to practice - IMO. As they atrophy so fast and are so hard to re-learn:

POSTURE POSTURE POSTURE. You need to make sure you are not bending your back!

MOVEMENT - as your skills dwindle from lack of training you will find that your hips lock up. When I say lock up - I mean that your mind and personality will become less flexible - or lazy. You will find that your willingness to actually move your hips through space in multiple dimensions goes away over time. This is really important. If you look at all the other non-movers out there, many are only willing to move their hips along a single plane and a single axis. This is death of your movement. Our hips need to be like the little message pyramid in the magic 8-ball. Floating and capable of moving in any direction based on the circumstances and arrive at the answer - on time!

Inner thigh strength. This is a part of the movement portion... standard walking is good - but it doesn’t keep the muscles strong and supple that are responsible for the translation of the hips along the vertical axis.

So, stretch roll fall and keep your strength up. You can go over all the movements you have done in the past in your head. As long as your body is ready - you will be able to get on the mat or use it when necessary when ever it happens.

This is how to keep you cup empty, yet ready for the filling at all times.

You will be amazed at how well your muscle memory serves you.

Posted on: 2003/8/9 6:29
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Ukemi & health
A small, bite sized contibution:

I had some osteophytic growth and spurs cut out of my spinal canal a while ago.

I've found that if I stop practicing ukemi, I get more frequent bouts of sciatica and associated cramping in my arms and legs.

"Whatever you do, just do ukemi"
Yul Brynner

Posted on: 2003/8/11 12:43
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Re: Ukemi & health
Have you tried acupressure to also help relieve the cramps or sciatica? If you are intrested, we can start another thread on self-care/ training related injury. I know there are a few other oriental medicine practioners out there other than me as well.

Posted on: 2003/8/11 14:16
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maybe ucanni
Thanks (Ukemi and gentle stretching are my treatment).

As for a BBT health thread... that could be a touchy subject... but I like it!

This maybe blasphemy, but I would encourage any sort of practice no matter how vaguely related to BBT. Be creative, have fun, be open minded and relax. Though it may take longer, I'm sure 'it' comes naturally in time...

Oops, that's more than two bites...

Posted on: 2003/8/11 17:25
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Frequent Visitor
2003/2/11 2:49
村民 :: Villager
Posts: 19

I was wondering where the Yul Brynner quote comes from?

Posted on: 2003/8/12 0:29
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