Be creative in your training

During the “Corona Pandemic” the art of training becomes important and intructors have to be very creative to inspire the students. Although we have many “solo exercises” in Tomiki Aikido, the purpose of the training during the pré-Corana time was more on partner exercises, formal exercises and sparring. Because we cannot practise with a partner your creativity becomes important in finding new ways to improve your body skills. Inspiration can be found in other martial arts with solo-basic training methods (Taichi-quan, Yi-quan, Karate-do, Iaido, Taikiken, ….)

Some creative ideas inspired by other martial arts :


Always start from a “shizentai” posture. Drop bodyweight. Use a “folding structure” image.

Breathing method

The synchronisation of the breathing and the movements will increase the effectiveness of the exercises. Nevertheless the breathing cannot be forced because this is unnatural. Breathing is a basically an unconscious process. When learning the exercises, you must be conscious of your diaphragm. When you can localize your diaphragm you can push down it when breathing in, you can relax and breath out. Don’t force the breathing. It must be smooth and no sounds. Try to avoid breathing in with the mouth.

1- Both hands supporting the sky

The stretching of the limbs and trunk is resembling of the stretching in the morning when getting up. It is for re-allocation of the blood flow in the thoracic and abdominal cavities.

When stretching the arms above your head, breath in while holding down the diaphragm.

2- Drawing a bow

The stress in this exercise is laid on the opening and closing of the thorax.

When stretching the arm to the left or right, breath in while holding down the diaphragm. Keep body relaxed.

3- Holding up a single hand

The opposite movements enhances the gastrointestinal peristalses and the digestive function.

When stretching the arm(s), breath in while holding down the diaphragm. Push palm hand up and push the opposite hand down.

4- Looking back

It activates the blood flow in the head and has a positive effect on the muscles involved with the eyesight (ocular muscles).

Look to the back and upwards. Keep hands in front of shoulders. Breath in when looking start looking up.

5-Bending left or right

It is said this exercise has a reduction effect on the sympathetic nervous system. This will have a positive effect on the ability to relax the body.

When bending to the left, lift left heel off the floor, when bending to the right lift right heel from the floor. Breath in when bending to the side. Move the top hand away from the head when breathing in.

6- Rolling of the elbows

This exercise is good for the muscles of the lower back and legs.

With this exercise you will learn how to bring power to the tip of the fingers. You will find this exercise also in the Hino martial body method.

7- Thorax moves the elbows

You will find more explanations and applications of this exercise by searching this blog for kyokotsu.

An example here

8- Body moves the fist

This is not a punching exercise, it is designed to strengthen the flow of the internal power. It must be done slowly and calmly with great concentration.

9- Vibrating the body

The purpose of this exercise is to regenerate and refresh all the internal organs by shaking the body and massaging the lower back.

A short movie of the exercises without nr7

Thorax moves the elbows nr7

Zhangzuang – Ritsuzen

Zhangzuang – Ritsuzen is not a immobile exercise. Although it seems a static exercise, it includes many movements.

Zhangzuang is the Chinese name and Ritsuzen is the Japanese name.

Basic “Zhangzuang – Ritsuzen” movement

Shizentai method

Basic movement: the body oscillates forward and backward. This movement has a direct effect on the calves and the thighs.

This exercise is a rather heavy exercise, although it does not appear to be so. Calves and thighs come under tension from moving forwards and backwards. Lowering the body weight makes this extra difficult.

Bodyweight is down. This image can be useful to keep the bodyweight down.

Holding the balloon

The “shizentai” method is the most basic one. More stress can be laid on the upper body by adopting the more wellknown posture of embracing a tree or holding a balloon. By using the oscillating movement, this exercise can become very demanding after a few minutes of “moving standing“.

There are 2 basic kind of power when holding a balloon. Use power towards the center of the balloon and there is the outward power of the balloon when it is squeezed. The basic idea of this exercise is to keep a strong but also flexible body structure. There is no excessive tension.

Slow moving 6 directions

There are 6 basic directions and you will find them in all the techniques or waza in in one or more different ways.

  • Horizontal inward
  • Horizontal outward
  • Forward
  • Backward
  • Upward
  • Downward

These movements are done quite slowly and you have an image of resistance. Keep body relaxed and bodyweight down even if you go upward.

Slow stepping

Using chidori-ashi when performing this exercise. Try to step as slowly as possible. Use both hand to push down for support (imaginary support) when 1 foot is off the floor. Release the pushing downwhen both feet are on the floor.


Aiki-taiso is based upon the chidori-ashi posture. More info on chidori-ashi and koshi-mawari “here”.

Although there are many exercises, there are only 5 methods in the original Tomiki version. He used his creativity to formulate a training method during his imprisonment by the Red Army after the war and described them in the early books about martial arts (judo, aikido,…) after his release in 1948.

  • uchi-mawashi
  • soto-mawashi
  • uchi-gaeshi
  • soto-gaeshi
  • o-mawashi

These 5 methods can be performed in different patterns started from chidori-ashi.. The concepts developped during baduan-jin and zhangzuang/ritsuzen has to be included.

The demonstrated aiki-taiso is a creative attempt. You have to understand the martial art body exercises described earlier and their influence on the so called “original tandoku undo” created by Kenji Tomiki.

About shobukaidojo

A passion for Martial Arts since 1964

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