Frequency. Duration. Intensity.
As we prepare for our first major seminar of 2020 on January 18th with Sensei Helen Reynolds and Sensei Keith Lit of Florida Aikikai, it is a good time to renew our commitments for the year ahead on and off the mat. (we hope to see you this weekend for the seminar!)
For this year, our focus is on creating this pyramid of Frequency as our base, duration as our frame, and intensity as our peak.
This concept is based on the standard fitness approach of: Mode, Frequency, Duration, and Intensity.
Mode: Type of movement/exercise
Frequency: How often (how many days/week)
Duration: How long each session lasts
Intensity: How hard you work in each session (are you working aerobic or anaerobic)
Since our focus is on our Aikido training, the mode is decided (though I highly recommend that students maintain a consistent fitness routine that supports their study of Aikido).
Frequency then becomes the most critical aspect of our Aikido; to a point. My recommendation for new students, especially those new to fitness routines or who haven’t trained in a number of years, is to start with 2-3 classes per week max. This is a great goal as it allows for at least a moderate amount of retention from class to class, while avoiding burn-out during the first 6-8 weeks of training.
Duration of training generally only becomes a concern or focus when it comes to seminars where there are opportunities to train for multiple hours per day. At our dojo we do have two classes each day we train in the evenings and so beginners usually start by taking one of these classes each day for a total of 2-3 classes per week.
Once a student has established a consistent pattern of training on a regular basis, they have usually experienced their first plateau and pushed past it and crave more from their day-to-day training.
At this point it’s important to revisit frequency and duration repeatedly before approaching intensity. Even with one or two examinations of frequency and duration, it’s still crucial to avoid being too pushy or allowing a student to take on more than they can handle (even if they seek it). This helps to avoid things like over training, injuries, and burn-out.
Changing intensity levels is more than just throwing faster and taking bigger falls to maximize heart rate during training. Both aerobic and anaerobic intensity is critical to skill development when training.
To develop anaerobic capacity during your Aikido training, consider a slower pace, but with deeper range of motion through movements, especially squatting motions, or koshinage setups where your body takes on the body weight of the attacker.
As always this is meant to establish long term development of the physical aspects of our Aikido training, which in turn gives us the potential of maximizing all other aspects of our Aikido journey.
See you on the mat!