Monday, July 15, 2013

Budo Body Part II

A while ago (during my first year of TSYR training) I mentioned that the body conditioning exercises were changing the musculature of my back and some re-wiring of the nervous system was going on.
This is an update.

After 2 and a half years of doing these conditioning exercises this is how things have progressed...
When I work through some of the exercises and then carry this feeling of good body alignment into my techniques it feels like most of my postural muscles are engaged. So all those muscles that allow for good posture fire. For me these are the trapezius muscles, lats, some deep abdominal muscles, hamstrings, calf muscles, even muscles that pull my flat feet into better alignment. Everything feels like it gets pulled tight like a spring. Now this is not a tensing of the muscles to the point of rigidity or stiffness. The feeling is spring-like. There is stability but bounce - for want of a better word.
Other muscle groups that seem to get attention during training are the triceps. Basically every muscle group on the posterior of my body gets some sort of workout when I train. Now this intrigues me because when I think of strength I think of rock hard abs and broad pectoral muscles. However, the tone and the muscle soreness a couple of days later is almost always centred on muscles on the rear side of my body.

As some of the larger muscle groups strengthen, the conditioning exercises then seem to target smaller muscle groups to maintain correct alignment. I really do feel like I am ironing out the kinks when I perform this routine. This conditioning is having a large effect on my techniques. I move from a place of strength and balance more often. I can power the technique with a coordinated body rather than certain muscle groups trying to force it into happening. It is exciting and empowering at the same time.

I can't help thinking that Morihei Ueshiba, Sokaku Tekada and other men that influenced the creation of Aikido must have moved with this power. Aikido techniques make more sense from this viewpoint. Certainly people like Ellis Ambur and Stanley Pranin seem to suggest this.

Along with this training develops a strong awareness of your own balance and where your body is in space. This sensitivity is key to effective TSYR technique. During some of the faster, freestyle like training we do, one can start to sense when your opponent has lost their balance, or given it back to you. This can result in counters and is incredibly subtle.

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