Last week we looked at some core strength exercises as a major component of our warmups and integrated it into normal practice waza as well. Its something I’d like to pursue for the next little while and see how it goes. Ever since the winter camp I’ve been ruminating on an aspect of aikido called ‘internal strength’ which for some proponents is analogous with ‘Aiki’ and for yet others its something to do with building the structure of the body (alignment, muscles, tendons and fascia) to have a natural strength that is greater than the sum of its parts. There are quite a few ideas about on what is internal strength. Its been something that has been quite engaging to research and am only scratching the surface really. ( see http://www.aikidorepublic.com/internal-strength for a bit of a biography of whats out there and some emerging thoughts).
Core strength, internal strength and Aiki
The dojo has a copy of Ellis Amdur’s “Hidden in Plain Sight’ and ‘Duelling with O’Sensei’ which traces the role and development of internal strength in Aikido which is circulating through the dojo. Amdur has also written a kind of epilogue to HIPS on the aikido journal for subscribers only (its free). See “A Consideration of Aikido Practice within the Context of Internal Training,” by Ellis Amdur
For me today internal strength is an important part of Aiki because it is a mechanism for having the good structure within ourselves, joining our partners power – through understanding strength and power better, and knowing where our partners strength is weak to help develop correct technique. All of these things are nothing new per se, they already exist in the aikido kata and the uke-nage dynamic, thus its a new angle to look at them and thus enrich our daily practice.
Its my hope to continue with some exercise to build core strength, as well as look at our paired practice in new ways that also build and test this in each other, something akin to resistance training but with a greater responsibility to each other.
Its a framework for practice where the uke-nage interaction is the real learning within a framework. For seniors if its not quite if tis not quite floating your boat, please just use the framework to work on your own stuff you are currently working on during this time. In the coming weeks I hope to progress to strikes and pad up so we can measure progress.
PS many thanks to Schnell Sensei for helpful discussions on core strength and seeing it in action at her Melbourne dojo