Action is the Key to Your Success
Harmony of Mind-Body-Spirit. Issue 73. March 2009.
I hope You are well and having a successful day... here is Your latest Harmony Newsletter from Tony at the Aikido Health Centre.
Your Unique Journey continues with our 'Aikido Success Blueprint Summary' of the best ways to develop your aikido skills fast - see below...
Next month our 'NEW FORMAT' begins. We asked for your questions, and the most common ones will be answered here. Plus we give our Tips on Aikido and Health related issues - Stay Tuned!
Read on... for our Wisdom Quotes, Tips and Feature Article. The back issues & unsubscribe links are at the end of the Ezine.
Peace and Harmony
P.S. We are about to change the format of the Harmony newsletter, and your input would be greatly appreciated. Please give us your valuable comments, suggestions or any questions you may have...
Do You want practical, easy-to-apply info on how to achieve real health and harmony, then this is for You, visit...
Optimum Health Secrets
Fast-Track Your Aiki skills to peak performance levels. Ideal for beginners, students and instructors...
Aikido Success Blueprint Collection
WORDS OF WISDOM
" To practice properly the Art of Peace, you must: Calm the spirit and return to the source. Cleanse the body and spirit by removing all malice, selfishness, and desire. Be ever grateful for the gifts received from the universe, your family, Mother nature, and your fellow human beings "
" The spiritual meaning of love is measured by what it can do.
Love is meant to heal. Love is meant to renew. Love is meant to bring us closer to God "
" True victory does not come from defeating an enemy, true victory comes from giving love and changing an enemies heart "
" Early to bed and early to rise, Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise "
" The divine is not something high above us.
It is in heaven, it is in earth, it is inside us "
FEATURE ARTICLEAIKIDO SUCCESS BLUEPRINT
In this series we focused on the key areas you need to look at in order to achieve success in your Aikido training. You learnt how to avoid many of the pitfalls on the path. If you want to fast-track your Aikido training, then it is important to have a good level of health and fitness.
Your fitness levels - flexibility, stamina, speed, and strength, should be above average. I highly recommend... walking, swimming, cycling, jogging (rebounder), stretching, yoga, and tai chi as excellent ways to prepare yourself for Aikido.
It is very important to choose the right Instructor and style, or you may have regrets later. All of the following styles came directly from Morihei Ueshiba...
1 - Traditional Aikikai - as taught by the Ueshiba family.
2 - Ki Aikido - as taught by Koichi Tohei.
3 - Yoshinkan Aikido - as taught by Gozo Shioda.
4 - Iwama Aikido - as taught by Morihiro Saito.
There are many, many more styles available, but these are the main ones. Both Aikikai and Ki Aikido are more intellectual and thoughtful approaches to the art. Yoshinkan and Iwama Aikido are more hard, practical styles for self-defence purposes.
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR AIKIDO INSTRUCTOR
You may well be training for many years to come, so choosing the right Aikido Instructor is one of the most important decisions you can make. Here are the main questions you may wish to consider...
1 - How long has the instructor been training, and what is their rank?
2 - Have they completed an aikido instructor training course?
3 - Who is their aikido instructor, affiliation, and governing body?
4 - Is the aikido instructor first-aid qualified?
5 - Have they had a CRB (criminal records bureau) check, or equivalent?
6 - How do they conduct their classes?
7 - What is the training and grading schedule?
8 - Do they offer access to other aikido dojo's?
9 - What is their personal background, and life experience?
10 - Do they have a Holistic approach to their teaching?
You may want to begin with a short period of instruction to make sure it meets your needs. Of course, if it doesn't feel right, move on to another aikido instructor who will serve your needs better. If you live in an area that doesn't allow you much choice, then you would be better off to travel further, than tolerate a poor instructor.
FOCUS YOUR MIND ON AIKIDO TRAINING
As you know aikido training has many different levels of skill training built in to the practise. Here are just some of the areas you will need to focus on during your aikido training...
1 - Remembering exactly where you should be and what you should doing at all times. This will include etiquette, and how to conduct your behaviour while in the dojo (and in life).
2 - Concentrating on your posture or form, and how to improve your ability to control your mind and body movements.
3 - Focusing on how you should be connecting with your training partners, whether nage (performer of technique) or uke (receiver of technique).
4 - The concentration required to remember hundreds of different techniques, that you must perform when your instructor asks you to.
5 - Understanding the theory and principles involved in the art of aikido.
6 - Working out how to use all of your training skills in your life for the benefit of humankind.
7 - Developing the mental capacity to go on to become an aikido instructor and teach the art to other people.
As you can see, the list goes on and you soon realise that it may well be a lifetime of study. In fact it was and is for O'Sensei Morihei Ueshiba and many amazing Aikido Masters and Instructors.
The human mind can only concentrate on one thing at a time. It appears that it can do more, but has the skill of jumping from one thing to another very quickly. So the less it has to think about the faster it will learn new things.
Your mind focuses on what it needs to complete the task that you put before it, so how can you take away some of the distractions that will come up? If you solve the following issues then your mind can focus on the more important parts of your aikido training, and speed up the process.
1 - You should be very enthusiastic to achieve a high level of skill.
2 - You should be fit enough for it not to be an issue during training.
3 - You should have good stamina, core strength and flexibility.
4 - You should be willing to help your training partners on the path.
The human mind learns new things by thought and repetition. So the fastest way to learn is to focus your thoughts on what you are doing and repeat it over and over again until it becomes a fixed skill.
So, we have established that you must control your mind and discipline it to work for you. I recommend that you focus your mind on one thing at a time, study it, learn it, digest it, and then move on to the next. Once you have done this you have taken a large leap towards fast-tracking your aikido skills to a completely new level.
LEARNING AIKIDO TECHNIQUES FAST
I recommend that you take a basic technique and work on it over and over again until you become an expert on one technique. Then you just repeat the process with the next basic technique, and so on.
After a few months you will have many techniques in your arsenal that are far more effective and powerful than many students who have been practising for years hopping from this and that. This is how many of the top instructors have developed themselves to such a high level of skill.
So, how do you set up your mind to store lots of technical Aikido information? Well, you use a simple filing system of course, like a computer!
And a good way of doing this is to create a Folder called Aikido Blueprint, which will have other folders inside maybe called... Aikido Rules & Etiquette, Aikido Breakfalls, Aikido Techniques, Aikido Principles, Aikido Self Defence, Aikido Freestyle and maybe Aikido Miscellaneous.
Now you have 1 main folder with 7 folders inside. Now you begin to build the information that you will store inside, and make it simple and to the point. Any info that is vague, put in your Aikido miscellaneous folder.
In order to easily remember each folder, you can associate them with colours, images, sounds, numbers, etc. This is how the memory experts do it in order to access the information fast. Of course if you are performing freestyle you will not be using your brain to access info, but reacting naturally to your circumstances.
Now its time to open your Aikido techniques folder, and store the very basic techniques inside... Kokyu-ho, Kokyu-nage, Shiho-nage, Tenchi-nage, Irimi-nage, Kaiten-nage, Kote-gaeshi, Hiji-jime, Ikkyo, Nikyo, Sankyo, Yonkyo, Gokyo, etc.
Also inside this folder are two sub-folders, one with the attacks... Katate, Kata, Yokomen, Shomen, Mune, Ushiro, etc. and the other with positive or negative movements... ichi (forward, positive, active) Ni (backwards, negative, reactive).
There are a few more techniques and attacks to add to these lists, but I am sure you get the picture. Once you have all of this info neatly stores in the files and folders of your brain, and with practise you will have easy access to it, very fast... this is how I use it in my own personal training!
Once you have all of these files and folders developed in your brain, and as you gather new information, you will know exactly where to store it for easy access.
You can be an Aikido expert, and the sure way to achieve it is to focus your mind, train hard and train smart. Of course you will greatly improve your speed of learning if you also relax deeply, enjoy your training and have fun.
ANALYZING POSTURE AND FORM
Creating and developing a good posture, that will hold up, while moving takes a lot of concentration in the beginning. One of the best ways to gain benefit, is to separate posture and movement in order to work on each aspect separately. After some practise you can then put them back together as one.
There are two basic postures... migi Hanmi Kamae (right) and hidari Hanmi Kamae (left). Here are some of the postures, stances, and specific positioning to take with an attacker during Aikido training...
Shizentai Kamae (natural), Migi Hanmi Kamai (right side forward), Hidari Hanmi Kamae (left side forward), Ai Hanmi Kamae (same as attacker), Gyaku Hanmi Kamae (opposite to attacker), Ma-ai (safe distance), Hand Positions... Gedan (low), Chudan (natural), Jodan (high).
In the early years of Aikido development, Morihei Ueshiba was making a transition from the old Daito Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu postures and forms. This was mainly with 60-70% of the weight over the front foot with the front foot turned out, as seen in Aikido Yoshinkan. This type of practise helped to develop a strong powerful posture.
Later on, as Aikido came out of the old forms, O'Sensei taught a more natural posture with the weight distributed evenly between the front and back foot. Included in this the front foot pointed straight forward and was a more natural stance.
Whether moving or standing still in Aikido, your body should feel strong and resilient, without tension or stiffness. Your hands should be extended in front of you with the fingers slightly spread — very similar to that adopted while holding a Japanese sword. Visualise your ki (energy) projecting out through your fingers.
The leading hand (on the same side as your front foot) guards the head and upper body, while the other protects the lower body and thighs.
In all Aikido movement, be sure to keep your weight low and your movement fluid and even. It can help to visualise all of your motion as being centred around a point a couple of inches below your navel — this point is called your hara.
Try to avoid lifting your weight up and down as you step. Your hips and shoulders should remain at the same level as you move your body, and your spine should remain upright.
If you need to get lower, keep your back upright and bend the legs, but don't bend over at the hips. This way you can maintain your balance and you don't risk losing your balance.
Firm Arms... dictates strict posture with arms somewhat forcefully extended. It can be a useful starting point for beginners to get into the shape of Aikido from a mechanical point of view.
Sword Arms... Imagine holding a sword and stand accordingly to make posture. Naturally, it works a lot better if you actually train with a bokken (wooden sword) from time to time. Swordwork puts the posture and mind in order and contributes a lot to good Aikido technique. Some people don't put enough extension in the arms when holding and too much when striking.
Floppy Arms... Because Aikido is supposed to take little effort, you should raise your arms into posture with as little effort as possible, which is confusing at first. It helps development as people use the weight of their arms combined with speed of movement to make technique.
Heavy Arms... is thought to be a source of strength or power in technique, but some tend to overly concentrate on the arms and forget to apply heaviness to the rest of their body, as in weight dropping or shifting.
Extended arms: The arms reach out naturally, without becoming absolutely straight or over extended. Correct extension produces an unbendable arm. It can be gentle, to the extent of seeming floppy, or hard, to the extent of appearing stiff. Correctly extended arms offer a clue to the feel of aiki, and all the techniques of Aikido can be done in this manner.
Posture is often thought to be the point of readiness before technique begins but this kind of thinking offers only a limited view into the nature of posture. Rather, 'posture' should be apparent at every point thoughout the technique. As a keen student You should look for key 'posture' positions within a technique and aim to join them together.
In order to learn your life lessons you will need to make some decisions. Principles are the key focus points that run through many different systems of learning. So if you...
1 - Make a list of your goals in order of importance.
2 - Imagine them complete and list the necessary steps to get there.
3 - Take massive action and work through the steps one by one.
This plan is surprisingly simple and is a good example of powerful principles. If you carry out the above 3 steps then you will reach your goal... its as simple as that!
You see, the aim is to free your mind so you can perform your aikido techniques in a flowing, relaxed but powerful way. You cannot do this if you are bogged down with mental baggage.
Aiki Principles teach a deeper understanding of Aikido. The aim of Aiki is to lead the mind and the body will follow. As an instructor the best way to lead the mind of your students is through motivation, inspiration, encouragement, and discipline.
What did the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei practise on a daily basis? After all this is what he thought was most important... right?
During his personal training he would perform a series of Aiki Exercises, Misogi Purification rituals, Kototama sound vibration chants and many hours of pure prayer to divine spirit.
The aim of these practises was to purify mind, body and spirit. Also to harmonise and balance the energy centres (chakras), and develop massive amounts of powerful healing energy (ki).
If you are thinking of joining an Aikido class, are a student or an instructor you will be working on a variety of ways to control your attackers through the use of their own energy. This may be a typical class structure that you will be or are working on to develop your skills...
It is essential to instill discipline in students regardless of the qualities and characteristics they bring to the Dojo (training hall). Discipline is often something the ego does not enjoy, but could save lives one day.
Aiki Class Blueprint Rei (bow), Mokusu (breathing meditation), Warm-up, Ukemi (breakfalls), Kihon Dosa (basic postures), Basic Techniques, Advanced Techniques, Applied Techniques, Kokyu Nage (breath throw), Kokyu Ho (harmonising exercises), Cool-down, Mokusu (breathing meditation), Rei (bow)
Aikido Attacks and Techniques Ai, Katate, Ryote, Mune, Kata, Hiji, Eri, Shomen, Yokomen, Shomen Tsuki, Ushiro, ikkyo, nikyo, sankyo, yonkyo, gokyo), Iriminage, Sokumen-Iriminage, Kote-Gaeshi, Kaiten-Nage, Kokyu Ho, Kokyu Nage, Jiyuwaza, Kaeshawaza, Bokken Happo Giri, 31 Jo Kata etc.
Assessing Students Ability Etiquette, Attitude, Mindset, Discipline, Effort, Concentration, Relaxation, Ma-ai (distance), Evasion, Ki-ai (shout), Atemi (distracting strike), Balance-taking, Immobilisation (control), Throw, Kamae (posture) Kihon (basic moves), Ukemi (breakfalls), Waza (technique), Jiyu-Waza (freestyle technique), Awareness of surrounding environment, Coaching Potential.
Methods of Training Accumulating Techniques, Analyzing Form, Understanding Principles, Big to Small, Slow to Fast, Tensed to Relaxed, Stylized to Realistic.
Aiki Principles Breath control, relaxation, non-resistance, connection, balance taking, circles, leading the mind, Mind Moves Body, Keep One Point, Relax, Extend Ki, weight dropping, weight shifting, double-weighting, pain incentive, avoid direct conflict, allow, triangulation points,
Relaxation-Focus-Intention-acceleration = Power. Don't Try to Make it Work - Let it Work... Just Do It! Penetration and Belief to Think Through the Target, When you Feel Connected you can Read the Intention of your Partner, and as you Become more Relaxed you begin to tune in to Uke's Subtle Feedback. Throw Uke by Created Co-operation, Prepare Uke To Unwillingly Throw Himself.
Kamae (basic posture) is for Training... and Shizentai (natural posture) is for Sudden Attack Defence, in application stance is instantaneous, Skeletal Locking - sequential locking to effect the spine indirectly, Aiki is Hidden in the Open, What You See Is Not What You Get, You Think Where You Feel... Sensitivity, A Lock is a Block is a Blow is a Throw.
Methods of Power Relax/Tense, Alignment, Sudden Tension gets Uke's Reaction in a Predictable Manner, Sudden Relaxation compliments the Direction, A very relaxed application creates a void for Uke to fall into the emptiness, Contraction-breathe in-tighten front of body-energy in, Expansion-breathe out-expand front of body-energy out, Vibration, Sudden energy in and out, change of pace.
If you want to understand many of these principles then you must work on them. Of course I am available for private lessons on the South Coast, in West Sussex, UK. OR look out for my expanded ideas in the NEW...
Aikido Success Blueprint Ebook Collection
Thats all for this month, and look out for next month's newsletter for our NEW format. We asked for your questions, and the most common ones will be answered here. Plus we give our best Tips on Aikido and Health related issues - Stay Tuned!
Fast-Track Your Aiki training skills to peak performance levels. Ideal for beginners, students and instructors. Also learn how to prevent and treat Aikido training injuries and FREE BONUSES...
Aikido Success Blueprint
ACTION IS THE KEY
TO YOUR SUCCESS
You can live a healthy and vibrant life, by using the following tips daily...
You Are What You Breathe, Drink, Eat, Think, Feel and Do
Breathe DEEPLY and Relax.
Drink Plenty of PURE Water.
Eat ORGANIC Food and Supplements.
Focus on POSITIVE Thoughts.
Positively EXPRESS Your Feelings.
Gently STRETCH for Flexibilty.
List Your Life GOALS.
ACT on Your Plans.
Get step-by-step info on how to experience real health and vitality, an absolute Gold-Mine of wisdom - Visit...
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Peace & Harmony
Aikido Instructor & Healer
Aikido Health Centre
Tony Wilden is an Aikido Instructor and qualified in several Healing Arts.
He has a deep interest in spiritual matters, optimum health, environmental issues, and the creation of harmony between people and nature. Tony is on a path to wisdom, freedom and power and shares his insights on aikido, health, universal principles, ancient knowledge and master strategies.
PLEASE NOTE The information provided in Harmony of Mind-Body-Spirit is for educational purposes and not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any dis-ease. It should not replace the advice of your health advisor or GP.
(c) March 2009 - Aikido Health Centre - All Rights Reserved
98 Linden Road, Bognor Regis, West Sussex PO21 2BD UK
Harmony of Mind-Body-Spirit from the Aikido Health Centre