Thursday, September 25, 2014

Misogi Training & Aikido As A Martial Art

Fasting is something I've covered here from time to time as a part of training, and recently I've begun misogi training.  As the term suggests it involves water, and as I am not called to Shintoism, I do not approach it religiously.

I do the breathing exercises naturally enough, and a wee bit of shaking the torso before I dive in, and Speedo even has their version of the ritual fundoshi.  After a couple of laps between buoys, employing side stroke, back stroke and I then do some cycles on the diving board, using the ozzie crawl.

In my version, I have been swimming in Lake Washington every morning, which since I began in July, is not much in the way of training.  But now that the weather has dipped to 55 degrees F it is getting interesting.  The water is no colder than it was in July of course, that will take time to lower, so it is just a matter of being warm on the 3 blocks to the water and warm back, especially when it rains.

In the morning chill air walk to the beach my pores open, no doubt backing up my breathing trying to heat up my body against the cold.  I speak clinically about this because if I thought "o no, cold" I would turn back home.  And when I dive in, certainly the pores open up.

What I notice is like fasting almost all is psychological conditioning.  A kid waiting for his ride to school 2 weeks ago was agog I was heading for the dock.  The kid was swimming in the same water three days ago.  Back to school, the lake is not an option any more.  The people running their dogs in the adjacent park, dressed for the arctic, are astonished at someone swimming when it is not sunny.  Walking back the occasional pedestrian sees from my towel, etc that I've been swimming and wonders at it.  I simply say the water temperature is the same.

Swimming warms you up in the water, and surely when I do the diving routine I am warm when I get out and do not feel the cold until I dive back in.  After getting out of the water, the 55 degrees is fine.  Indeed, I towel off and let the air dry me a bit as I walk off the dock, before putting on my sweatshirt.  Walking home my back heats up.  I find at home I like to air dry so I work naked for a half hour or so, perfectly warm, and oddly, only begin to feel chilled after I dress.  So physiologically something is going on which is defensive.  Probably a good workout.

The Indians around here before the pale face showed up generally wore only a loose hide smock, and were other wise naked nearly year round.  It's what you are used too.  I am not saying we can go naked in the arctic, but we err way too much on overprotection.  If you are working outside, you know you can do with less.

Another thing I find, I was for the first half of the year eating two simple meals a day and rarely anything else, but now I need a third.  A daughter visited from Paris and exclaimed that I was so skinny.  Maybe, but I don't think I've ever been healthier.

In aikido as a martial art you are going to get hurt, and it is important not to worry about it.  Pain is information, not imperative.  Note it, assess it, and then proceed accordingly with what you still have.

Update: Next day, 55 degrees fahrenheit, 60% AH, cloudy.  Lake calm.  Walking toward the lake, looking forward to diving into the warmer water

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