Training and Cognition by Yoshio Kuroiwa

“The body has its limits, but the mind has no limit. The mind is free and unrestrained.”

The article appearing below was kindly contributed by Yoshio Kuroiwa Sensei, Chief Instructor of the Rikkyo University Aikido Club and practitioner of the art for more than 30 years

From Aiki News #63 (September 1984)

Yoshio Kuroiwa (1932-2010)

Training has physical and spiritual aspects. The physical side involves training in how to draw out the physical power which lies dormant within. The physiological structure of the human body is such that it is capable of producing (withstanding) a force which is equal to approximately three times a person’s normal strength (about the same as one’s body weight). However, manifesting such super-strength constantly is impossible physiologically and would destroy the body’s tissue.

Strength under normal circumstances is physiologically limited, and this becomes the measure of man’s normal strength. Therefore, in an emergency, for example a fire, if one carries a heavy object such as a chest of drawers which he cannot normally carry, it is not at all miraculous. Rather, it is Nature’s providence. To consider this as some special ability is nonsense. In modern sports medicine, the interval method is used. Muscles are capable of maintaining their condition when a 30% resistance (amount of exercise) is applied, but less than this amount results in a deterioration of the muscle. Only when a resistance of 60% to 80% is applied will the muscle develop. More than that applied constantly will destroy the muscle tissue. Thus, rest periods are necessary and the development of muscles will be accelerated through a regular repetition of resistance and rest.

It is necessary to develop muscles gradually and exceeding resistance limits will produce contrary results except in the case of exceptional individuals. Of course, there are differences due to age, physical strength, skeletal structure and body size. For example, muscles developed through regular body building will be maintained and further develop if the appropriate stimulus is present. If unused for long periods they will atrophy to their original condition or may even become “excess baggage” and become harmful. We often hear of cases of persons who engaged in sports during their student days and after graduation cease physical activity only to suffer from poor health.

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