My newest electronic resource, Palm Stick Self-Defense Guide, is now available from Amazon.com. And boy am I excited about it! Palm sticks, like kubotans and koppos, have become increasingly popular among self-defense enthusiasts. I try to make helpful suggestions and recommendations that are practical, realistic, and intended to keep you safe, out of the morgue, hospital, and prison. Be sure to check it out! Hopefully you’ll find it helpful! More to come, with some upcoming Amazon specials. So stay tuned!
One of the common warm up exercises universally seen in Aikido dojos is called funekogi or sometimes the “rowing exercise.” This is an excellent exercise, and really could benefit practitioners of other martial arts beyond Aikido. When I first began studying Aikido and practicing, I didn’t really know what was going on and I think for the first few years, I just went through the motions with funekogi. It looks, and can feel…empty. In reality, when done well, funekogi is a great way of developing power. There are lots of ways of doing funekogi “correctly.” There’s no one way of doing it, although there are wrong ways to do it. But if you want to feel how this exercise can develop tremendous power, try a few things. (1) Grind your feet into the ground, digging your big toes hard into the ground. (2) lower your center a bit. (3) really use the ground that your feet are gripping as you move forward and back…you should be able to feel this in your hips and legs. (4) add some spirals in your arms, if you don’t already. This last point has to do with spirals, twists, appearing in your arms, but it’s really happening inside of you: palms down when your arms thrust forward, palms up when your arms pull back in. If you watch any of the videos of O Sensei (Morihei Ueshiba) doing funekogi, he’s spiraling like crazy! His funekogi looks more powerful than any I’ve seen. That shouldn’t be surprising because he was such an incredible martial artist. But I’ve never even seen anything close to it. My sense is we don’t practice funekogi this way. It’s not about muscle either. Aikido is never about muscle. But this is a solo exercise, so you’re not using your opponent’s energy….there is no uke. You’re using the ground forces of the earth, and you’re generating energy from your center. This is probably one of the most important Aikido exercises so keep practicing it! You will reap the benefits down the road!