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how to beat fast with your arms, and not use too much strenght?

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  • how to beat fast with your arms, and not use too much strenght?

    this is one of my biggest mistakes, often i keep my arms and shoulders too much hard and it does improve the speed of my strikes at the costs of some heavy hitting and me getting my body much more tired

    i only practice twice a week, and im trying to develop a simple workout that i can make in my low celling appartment

    i figure out a good exercice would simple stay in seiza and hit a big men several times whichout moving my body but at the same time making the shinai go as far away possible (like a fishing pole), and making a perfect stop in my imaginary target head, however when i speed up this workout to gain speed i really feel like it becomes a hard muscle workout

    can this lead to a wrong and bad adiction?

    i understand during your regular training you are suppose to strike with your hole body to gain speed, but in my home workout i just stay in seiza

  • #2
    I'd say that, while it's a good workout, concentrating on developing muscle speed isn't really going to improve your kendo much. A couple reasons, timing will always beat speed, and speed relies more on maintaining a relaxed body and proper movement rather than muscle development. I'm still working this out myself but I'm mostly convinced that your arms and shoulders shouldn't be doing that much work and therefore developing speed in those muscles won't contribute much to your kendo. I'm not recommending you quit training fast since from a health and cardio standpoint, it sure won't hurt you. Just don't be surprised when you don't suddenly start winning just because you're faster.

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    • #3
      An important aspect to getting fast is to stay relaxed -- especially your right hand. Another thing is to develop a good small men-uchi. This takes a lot of practice and refinement. No real shortcuts for this one.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Filipp View Post
        this is one of my biggest mistakes, often i keep my arms and shoulders too much hard and it does improve the speed of my strikes at the costs of some heavy hitting and me getting my body much more tired
        I can't say I have this figured out myself, but your solution is to keep your arms relaxed. Speed should come from your lower body and footwork. Our sensei is a big proponent of lunges to build lower body strength. I have seen threads here that discuss the psoas muscle and related workouts, and they seem to be consistent with what our sensei tells us.

        Additionally, keeping your shoulders and arms tense will prevent you from executing nidan waza.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by verissimus View Post
          Our sensei is a big proponent of lunges to build lower body strength.
          Squats, not lunges. Dammit I keep mixing up the two.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by verissimus View Post
            Squats, not lunges. Dammit I keep mixing up the two.
            Lunges too. I've been taught that lunges are useful to strengthen the hamstring and groin muscles that help snap the back leg up in hikitsuke.

            Filipp:

            For reasons I don't exactly understand physiologically: relaxed = faster // tensed = slower. Suburi is good. Just check with your sensei that you are doing it correctly and try to relax while practicing.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jjcruiser View Post
              For reasons I don't exactly understand physiologically: relaxed = faster // tensed = slower.
              Think of it terms of resistance. When your muscles are tensed they want to resist motion, when they are relaxed they don't tend to resist motion. In other words when you are tensed up typically a bunch of muscle groups are tensed and resist, where as when you are relaxed only the muscles that are needed for motion tense as motion is initiated so there is little resistance from other muscle groups to the motion.

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              • #8
                That's an great way to explain it. I've always struggled with trying to understand that less muscle means more speed, it's a bit counter-intuitive to me so this really helps.

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                • #9
                  It's not quite that simple. You use your muscles to generate power. Without power, there is no speed. The key is when and how you apply that power.

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                  • #10
                    Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JSchmidt View Post
                      It's not quite that simple. You use your muscles to generate power. Without power, there is no speed. The key is when and how you apply that power.
                      What I was trying to say (perhaps poorly) is that body movement is due to contraction of a specific set of muscles. In other words it is not a push/pull, it is a pull only. In order for the contraction to proceed in the fastest way possible you don't want an antagonist set of muscles also pulling as that creates resistance. As a example to raise your forearm in the simplest terms you want to contract your bicep, the tricep then stretches. However if your whole arm is tense then both bicep and tricep are tightened up and so there is increased resistance to the bicep trying to raise the forearm by the tricep also being tensed ( as compared to a relaxed tricep). Power and speed come from the correct set of muscles, and only the correct set of muscles, contracting. When tensed, all muscles are in.a state of semi contraction and therefore resistance in the system is much higher than when all muscles except the appropriate muscle group in relaxed. When resistance is high more power and energy are used making you slower and more tired with time.
                      Last edited by MikeW; 1st April 2012, 09:47 PM.

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                      • #12
                        The less tense the fastest! Suburi can be away to learn not to tense arms and shoulder.
                        A sensei once tell us that he learn to strike without being tense when his sensei made him do 4000 men every day for some months, at the end obviously is not possible to be tense.
                        Start doing let's say 200 men a day, if you have time increase the number after a little of time.
                        Some ideas on how to do suburi:
                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yH1x4...feature=relmfu

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                        • #13
                          I think fast cutting comes more from good relaxed technique rather than muscle work. my Sensei said always said that when doing basic suburi you should relax your shoulder and arm for the upswing and only use arm power for the final part of the downswing when you accelerate the mono uchi. at this stage, your forearm and grip should tense suddenly to complete the tenouchi giving the cut sharpness.

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                          • #14
                            I think a lot of the problem comes from "seme" and misplaced/preconceived notions of threat display. Everyone understands the need to relax the shoulders, but then the competition comes along, and we tense up to kiai, or to provoke responses, zanshin gets confused with victory poses... of course that affects the swing.

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                            • #15
                              Actually tight shoulders make for slower swings. Relax your shoulders. As others have said smooth is best. Doing suburi in seiza is fine, if you can stand to sit there long enough.. I used to use a chair... Nice thing about that is that if you sit in a chair with your back against the chair back, you can fell if your body sways by the change in pressure between your back and the chair back.
                              What I also used to do is set up a fragile target a bit below my desired finish height...and make myself make a crisp stop without hitting it.


                              Originally posted by Filipp View Post
                              this is one of my biggest mistakes, often i keep my arms and shoulders too much hard and it does improve the speed of my strikes at the costs of some heavy hitting and me getting my body much more tired

                              i only practice twice a week, and im trying to develop a simple workout that i can make in my low celling appartment

                              i figure out a good exercice would simple stay in seiza and hit a big men several times whichout moving my body but at the same time making the shinai go as far away possible (like a fishing pole), and making a perfect stop in my imaginary target head, however when i speed up this workout to gain speed i really feel like it becomes a hard muscle workout

                              can this lead to a wrong and bad adiction?

                              i understand during your regular training you are suppose to strike with your hole body to gain speed, but in my home workout i just stay in seiza

                              Comment

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