Start me up 2015

It has been great to get back into training in 2015, if you are stalling your restart…….don’t,…….. the sooner you are back on the mat the sooner you will feel yourself again.

Ok, so we are taking it a little easier with the heat but you forget about it as the cool breeze rushes through your hair during ukemi, …….maybe not quite that good but a nice image.

It is a fact that by the time you are thirsty it is a little too late to re hydrate, so please drink as much as possible 2 -3 hours before hitting the dojo, that way you will feel better and recover faster. Drinking while training really should just be topping up.

We thought it would be good to outline a few of the highlights coming up this year to look forward too as well.

Mark these in your calendar.
• Yundansha grading and visiting Great Ocean Aikido founders possibly March waiting on      confirmation on this one.

• Invitation to join Shimamoto sensei with our Bayside akidoka friends on 26/4/15. Link to Sensie


• First ever Brisbane seminar with Shihan Bill Gleason, in June, he was a direct student of Sensei Yamaguchi for ten years and a absolute living legend of the art. More information and teachings of Shihan Gleason to come soon, dates 13 & 14 June 2015.
• Other visiting Sensei’s TBA throughout the year and seminars to attend we will advise as they come to hand.

One of the great positives being involved with GOA is the ability for all of us to be exposed to various “brands” of aikido, even encouraged to do so.

This allows each person no matter what level the opportunity to take what inspires then from such encounters and blend it into their practice.

To quote David Brown Sensei ” Aikido is Aikido – there is no distinction between different schools”

So get started into your Aikido in 2015 and look forward to some inspiration in your training, see you at the dojo.

Big weekend of seminars in Brisbane – What’s a girl to do?

just_press_herejpgThis weekend looks to be big one on the aikido calendar for Brisbane-ites with Michael Williams Sensei teaching the new Goshinkai syllabus out Bayside way and Satoshi Takeda sensei sharing more Kenkyukai wisdom out at Wavel heights

Both come highly recommended. See our previous blogs and articles on Satoshi and Williams Sensei

What ever your choice – or perhaps a bit of each , its sure to be a great weekend and probably a liberal sprinkling of seminar photos and certificates for the hard working

Next question, what to wear. I’m thinking something pleated and in black?

Visitors from afar. University, Sport and a little Budo


A nice chance to explore university research, sports science and Budo nexus last week.

Originally posted on Sports Technology Blog - Enabling technologies for sport and health:

photo 2We were delighted to spend some time this week with Prof. Wada from Japan at SABEL Labs.
Prof. Wada is from Kagoshima on the island of Kyushu in Japan. He is from the National Institute of fitness and Sports in Kanoya, one of only two in Japan. The university supports a range of sports as well as traditional Japanese Budo (martial arts) – for which Kagoshima is somewhat famous.
We had some very interesting discussions about the handling of time series biomechanics and performance data and we look forward to his return in the near future, perhaps for an extended stay.
photo 3photo 4photo 5

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Chasing the IS Rabbit with Science…thoughts from a recent seminar

Winter retreat 2014, IS and strain

Winter Retreat 2014, IS and strain in action?, photo S. Russell

I went to an interesting musculoskeletal research retreat recently (I had to give an invited talk, though – no such thing as a free lunch). As an added bonus it also informed my IS practise. So bear with me as I make a short story long.

The insights came during a talk on investigating tendon strain, which in the achilles is a significant health issue. A multi-national group had examined various protocols for healing the achilles tendon (see reference at end). The work kept tendons, sourced from rabbit cadavers, in an artificial environment for a prolonged period of time. Rabbit tendons are very similar to human ones and easier to source.  The tendons were stretched at varying levels of strain for different time periods using a set protocol and the resultant strength measured over time. The work ultimately is to assess what might be best practice in recovery protocols.
It turns out there is a sweet spot at 6% strain ( under 0.25 Hz – a 4 second cycle of 1s graded strain, 1s hold, 1s reduction and 1s release).  Any less strain and there is natural decay, any more strain damages the tendon – interesting news for us IS try-hards. The cycle time was chosen from previous rabbit treadmill studies that varied the step rate ( loading time) and looked at tendon strength after. In humans and possibly related (though its muscle) we know from other researchers that oxygen depletion in humans takes place in the muscles inducing the strain after 6–7 seconds (see 2nd ref below) so its all in the same ball park.
From science to inferences for IS training:
If we consider similarities between tendon and fascia, this provides good evidence (or indication at least) of how much muscle to use, how hard to try and for how long in exercises that seek to build conditioning eg winding, reeling, bowing, balloon man, skin breathing, opening and closing qua,10 of 10 and so on. Many of these traditional methods talk about not forcing, working with intention and have cyclic periods of strain and relaxing. 6% is then something of a middle ground, where there would be good reasons to go a bit higher, perhaps to weed out the connections not wanted or for elongation. Cycle time too might be something to do with the art it is embedded in, to build coordination ( eg bowing) or historical ( eg the shinto rites of spring)
So how much is 6% strain? Good question. Neglecting the complexity of dynamic and static strain, it’s possible to get into the ball park, I think, and discover how we might be trying too hard. 
By putting the tips of your two index fingers together and pushing so they bend back until there is the onset of pain. Let’s call this 50% strain. (It’s a stab in the dark but a reasonable assumption – choose a different number if you want.) Try again and only push half as hard for 25%. Reduce the effort by half for 12.5% and repaet and half that for 6.25%. Its not very much by the time you get to 6%, maybe this is the illusive intention for those of us struggling with whatnthat might mean. 
You can also try  to find 6% strain with this method on an IS exercise of your choice if you think it’s relevant.
Understanding 6% or intention benefits other IS exercises that aim to recruit deep rather than surface muscles. For example, opening the hips (or that component of the qua), where applying too much effort tends to recruit superficial muscles. You can explore this by placing your hands on your buttocks or glutes (or other muscle of choice) to ensure they remain relaxed as you practise. Using only 6% strain in opening the hips should ensure only deep muscles are engaged (with practise), whereas using more effort engages superficial muscles and is potentially counterproductive.
Anyway, the ideas above move from a reasonable scientific foundation to inference and conjecture by a relative IS neophyte. Please take what’s helpful if any and let me know about the rest. I would be grateful for your thoughts and comments to inform my personal practice.
Best Wishes,
Many thanks to Andrew, Mike and Aran for feedback in the writing
The papers
Find then on google scholar, you may need an .edu.x domain to download for free though
Programmable mechanical stimulation influences tendon homeostasis in a bioreactor system
Tao Wang1, Zhen Lin1,2, Robert E. Day3,Bruce Gardiner4, Euphemie Landao-Bassonga1, Jonas Rubenson5, Thomas B. Kirk6, David W. Smith4, David G. Lloyd7,Gerard Hardisty8, Allan Wang9, Qiujian Zheng2 andMing H. Zheng1,*
Article first published online: 4 FEB 2013, DOI: 10.1002/bit.24809, Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Biotechnology and Bioengineering
Volume 110, Issue 5, pages 1495–1507, May 2013
Identification of functional programmable mechanical stimulation (PMS) on tendon not only provides the insight of the tendon homeostasis under physical/pathological condition, but also guides a better engineering strategy for tendon regeneration. The aims of the study are to design a bioreactor system with PMS to mimic the in vivo loading conditions, and to define the impact of different cyclic tensile strain on tendon. Rabbit Achilles tendons were loaded in the bioreactor with/without cyclic tensile loading (0.25 Hz for 8 h/day, 0–9% for 6 days). Tendons without loading lost its structure integrity as evidenced by disorientated collagen fiber, increased type III collagen expression, and increased cell apoptosis. Tendons with 3% of cyclic tensile loading had moderate matrix deterioration and elevated expression levels of MMP-1, 3, and 12, whilst exceeded loading regime of 9% caused massive rupture of collagen bundle. However, 6% of cyclic tensile strain was able to maintain the structural integrity and cellular function. Our data indicated that an optimal PMS is required to maintain the tendon homeostasis and there is only a narrow range of tensile strain that can induce the anabolic action. The clinical impact of this study is that optimized eccentric training program is needed to achieve maximum beneficial effects on chronic tendinopathy management. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2013; 110: 1495–1507. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Lumbar erector spinae oxygenation during prolonged contractions: implications for prolonged work
SM McGill, RL Hughson, K Parks – Ergonomics, 2000 – Taylor & Francis
… HICKS, A., MCGILL, SM and HUGHSON, R. 1999, Forearm muscle blood ¯ ow and … and magnitude of blood ¯ow changes in the human quadriceps muscles following isometric …LANOCE, V. and CHANCE, B. 1989, Noninvasive detection of skeletal muscle underperfusion with …

Winter Retreat in Pictures

Aikido Republic Winter Retreat 2014A wonderful weekend away, a time to regroup, spend time with families, do some excellent training and cogitating for the future.

Many thanks to Sunter and Nicholls Sensei for guest instruction, the naughty chef for excellent fare and everyone for making the trip away. Sadly it was a time to formally farewell Eric and Alison as the prepae to move to new Zealand . We love you guys, come and visit us often!
A weekend in photos courtesy of Simon, Neil, Charlie and Dan. Please enjoy and let us know if you would like any taken down

Instructor accreditation programmes

Australian-Sports-Commission-BlueThe next NCAS instructor accreditation course is coming up. The National Coaching Accreditation Scheme (NCAS) is a program of the Australian Sports Commission and recognised by the Australian and all State and Territory Governments. The Australian Jujitsu Federation offers this accreditation for Jujitsu and related arts, of which Aikido is one. beyond being a good practiocner of your art, this course helps fill in some of the gaps. The course  includes: learning and development,  risk management,  appropriate legislation,  biomechanics,  physical development,  group management,  health and safety,  principles of skill analysis,  and more.

If your dojo or organisation doesn’t have an equivalent, then this isn’t a bad way to go. The next course in Qld is coming up in Augest. See


The Australian Sports Commission also offers a free online community coaching course as a starter