View Full Version : Water during practise

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05-12-2006, 02:38 AM
Hi all,

What do you think of letting students drink a zip of water during practise when the day's are hot.

I know etiqutte does not allow food and drinks during practise on the tatami but do you make exceptions?


05-12-2006, 04:07 AM

Dehydration isn't particularly conducive to learning.

we allow students to take a quick drink while instructor is demonstrating.

we expect them to do it quickly and would take a dim view if they started a gargling competition but if it helps keep them attentive then its not seen as a major issue or disrespectful.

During gradings we prefer them to go straight through and not request water breaks. They should have been correctly prepared for the grading and fitness to complete the grading in one shot comes into the equation. However we do make exceptions when its hot or when there could be health issues involved.



05-12-2006, 05:07 AM
I don't have a problem if a student asks me if they can step off the mat and take a water break. When I was in Tokyo, it was also fine, but you had to step outside of the dojo. In kobe, it was fine, you could step over to the sink and take a quick swig from the tap.

Personally, some classes I need a quick sip, other classes I don't feel the need. I know some seem to think that it's wrong to take a water break, but I'd rather my students rehydrate when required.


05-12-2006, 06:31 AM
When I trained at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo during one of the hottest summers, at least one of the Shihan would stop the class for a short water break. Many people (including myself) stepped off the mat for a quick sip.

05-12-2006, 06:39 AM
Its a requirement for me if you want me to do anything that requires cardio. I will deyhdrate and then get sick without water. I had a instructor very uptight about this once (not aikido), after getting extreamly sick twice (once almost all over his mats) I decided it was best to seek instruction elsewhere. My personal saftey and health come above respect and honor. This isn't that big of an issue in my aikido class, the instructor provides water and we really only need it in the summer (man I wish there was AC in the dojo), but in my bjj and judo classes I would be hospitalized without water.

05-12-2006, 08:29 AM
If we are training ourselves how to be better than the next person to sit for extended periods of time while not showing the least bit discomfiture, I would suggest that taking water during such practice is counter-productive.

If we are training our selves with the goal of self defense, or perhaps in other words self preservation, then hydration is absolutely necessary. Allowing weakness via dehydration to enter your training opens the door for a fair number of thngs that will deter cognitive and physiological assimilation of technique.

Consider a working lens. It gets dirty while in an operating condition. Its ability to transmit efficiently decreases. It's not sensible to say that it makes the lens tougher for still being capable of transmission, even though a bit of water would greatly help it in its job.


05-12-2006, 08:45 AM
on a normal two hour class we break 2 mins for a water break then back to it, thats all we ever had since i joined seems enough as well.

I often find that drinking to much is almost as bad as drinking not enough.

05-12-2006, 10:21 AM
Personally, I dont leave the mat to get a drink until class has ended.
Realistically, you should get off the mat if you are in need of water. Dont be a hero when your health is online.

05-12-2006, 10:28 AM
We may stop for a water break whenever we need one.

Amelia Smith
05-12-2006, 10:52 AM
I really think that people should try to come into class adequately hydrated. When the weather is especially hot, often the teacher will tell people that they can get off the mat for a drink whenever necessary, or announce a short break, particularly durring a class that lasts over an hour. Under normal circumstances, though, when the weather is not too hot, and the class lasts 1 1/2 hours or less, I would rather people not take a break for water. It's distracting. So, I would say that taking a break for water should be reserved for when it's really needed, and not frequently.

Janet Rosen
05-12-2006, 10:54 AM
i believe people do not give up their autonomy over health in entering the dojo and if a person needs to drink water, pee, rest a sore joint, etc, it can easily be done without impairing other peoples training.

Pauliina Lievonen
05-12-2006, 11:12 AM
The weather here doesn't really get that extremely hot very often, but in the summer we do sometimes have a water break if it's really warm, and if someone needs to get off the mat to go have a sip of water it's ok. At seminars it's sometimes been a bit of a topic of discussion between the teachers, some people being more old school and all... :)

For me drinking enough well in time before class works better, a sip of water during class doesn't really help a lot if I'm already dehydrated. If I've had enough to drink before class I can easily go a two hour class without water. We have one night with one hour followed by one and a half hour classes, but those have a break between anyway, and i usually do drink something then.


Josh Reyer
05-12-2006, 12:05 PM
Many of the people in my dojo bring water bottles with them, which they can drink from at any time the sensei isn't talking. Summers are ungodly hot here, and if people weren't allowed to drink during class, we'd probably have a fatality, no matter how much people hydrated themselves before class.

Kevin Leavitt
05-12-2006, 12:13 PM
This is a hot button of mine! When ettiquette overrides common sense, it becomes stupid. Heck even in the Army we let students get a drink of water whenever they need it.

It should be done in a manner that is not disruptive to class. It may mean bowing out of a particular exercise or waiting till sensei is done talking or demonstrating a technique to not be disruptive. However, to not allow students to leave the mat on their own freewill to take care of hydration because of some pseudo japanese ettiquette garbage in ridiculous!

Alec Corper
05-12-2006, 12:32 PM
Arjan, you can drink water on your own time, but not on mine! ;-)

05-12-2006, 02:28 PM
Water breaks are never allowed in cactus-jutsu.

Kevin Leavitt
05-12-2006, 02:38 PM
I suppose you could wear a camelbak under your Dogi! It would even break your fall somewhat!

Ron Tisdale
05-12-2006, 02:39 PM
Even at the Doshinkan, where training is relatively formal, water breaks are permitted, and on especially hot days, suggested by the instructor. Heck, just the other night, he saw me sweating like crazy, and checked a couple of times to make sure I didn't need a water break. I choose not to take breaks during class, but on really bad days, I will between classes. If I felt my health was at risk, I'd take a break during class if I needed to.


05-12-2006, 03:13 PM
Where I train you're allowed to get off the mat and drink when people are practicing. This is especially important in the summer when it's hot as hell and dry as a bone, and it becomes even more important if you aren't used to the altitude (nothing kicks off altitude problems like dehydration). I typically drink before class and am fine for the duration, but everyone's different.

When I was in college I trainined in Shotokan karate with my university's club. We were not allowed water breaks. It's hot and humid in upstate NY in the summer, and they even put out heat advisories on the worst days. I came home from class pretty sick a couple times. I'm suprised no one ever passed out.

05-12-2006, 04:22 PM
Wow. Somehow I find the thought of somebody telling me I'm not "allowed" to get a drink when I am thirsty to be ridiculous.

How can we say we are being respectful when we decide for another person whether or not they can quench their thirst? We must, of course, expect that they excuse themselves from the mat respectfully, and wait to respectfully return to the mat. that might mean saying, "Wait until we break from demonstration and people are chossing partners, so that you do not distract what sensei is showing." or "Please wait to leave the mat until sensei is no longer speaking." or "Please let sensei know why you're leaving the mat, so that he/she knows you are uninjured."

But I'll be damned if you can tell me I'm "not allowed" to get a drink.


Karen Wolek
05-12-2006, 05:56 PM
My sensei stresses drinking tons of water during the day, before class. Drinking during class isn't really going to help that much, if you haven't had enough water throughout the day. But he certainly doesn't tell someone they can't get off the mat to get a drink. On extremely hot classes, he has told us to get a drink if we need to.

raul rodrigo
05-12-2006, 07:21 PM
We never used to allow it, so I do train in the tropics for a couple of hours and don't need a drink of water until after practice. Then my sensei went to Japan and a shihan told him: "That is old style. In my dojo, where you are thirsty, you drink."

05-12-2006, 08:41 PM
Its fine in our dojo, if you need water you need, water, I dont usually drink in the middle of class although I tend to need if after rondori, or some other thing that is done quickly

Rupert Atkinson
05-12-2006, 09:49 PM
In 25 years, I have never had a drink during practice. I have only ever had to leave the mat once, and that was because I thought I was going to be sick - I wasn't. The secret lies in being ready for practice, and in being fit enough. But if you want to drink, go ahead.

05-12-2006, 10:16 PM
Good question. I personally don't like it - probably because my instructors never allowed it - but I do think that people should have the right to judge their own body condition and take a break (for water, to sit out a technique, to go to the bathroom, to throw up...etc...) when needed.

And as an instructor I feel that I should give my students the respect and trust that they take these breaks because they are needed and not because they want a couple of minutes break in an otherwise tiring class. So far they haven't disappointed me :)

05-12-2006, 10:54 PM
Always allow drinking in our school. Most have waterbottles they bring to class, and there's a fridge with bottled water/fruit juice as well as a handy tap. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Even in non-hot environments, an hour's hard practice can loose enough water to make you pretty seriously dehydrated, which obviously increases risk of injury. A couple of mouthfuls of water during class can be quite useful is staving off dehydration.

Rocky Izumi
05-13-2006, 12:51 PM
I force my students to have a water break but everyone breaks at the same time. Sometimes, a student will have to remind me when I get too involved in teaching something. I'm used to the tropics but even I sometimes get myself over-dehydrated and almost collapse during some types of exertion in the sun. So I know how bad dehydration can affect the body. Even though the practices in the dojo are in not in the sun you can still get extremely dehydrated just from the sweating. The couple times I have almost collapsed with high blood pressure from lack of hydration were in situations in high humidity under dense foliage -- no sun (once was even at night). I have also been so dehydrated during an Aikido summer camp (admittedly after drinking all night and dehydrating myself) that I ended up with leg cramps and that is from a guy that is used to dehydration from working in the desert or in a jungle. It cut my Aikido practice time and teaching time -- a waste of time.

If you want to have a good extreme Aikido practice, make sure your students bring their own water bottles and hydrate themselves during practice. My view is if the students aren't requiring hydration during practice, then they aren't practicing hard enough. I want to see them having to wring their gis out after practice.


Lan Powers
05-13-2006, 06:57 PM
We have two hour classes with a scheduled break between the first and second hour to grab a drink.
Each class. (After all today is 102 degrees here in sunny West Texas, although, sadly, no class this weekend)

05-14-2006, 05:13 PM
In my dojo we have a hour and a half class plus 15 minutes of working out afterwards, and the instructor doesn't allow to drink during class (unless it's an emergency). He says in Russia they were taught that drinking during excercise weighs you down, since most ppl over drink.
At first it was hard for me to get used to it, since I drank allot when i was working out at the gym, but now I'm used to it (drink before class) and I also find that there is some truth in what he was taught.

Drinking water during excercise gives me the hicups :hypno:

05-14-2006, 06:12 PM
During aikido, my sensei usually gives us a 2-3 minute water break if we are training really hard or if it's really hot. If we're not training that hard or if its not hot , he usually doesn't give us a break, but if we ask to get a drink he will always let us. The breaks that he gives us don't really take away from class time at all. We are pretty quick about it and he's sure that we don't waste time. I think that breaks are good, because it just gives u a minute to catch your breath and cool down, and then when you get back on the mat, you are re-focused and ready to go.

Also, during his seminars, which usually last about 3 hours, he will bring pieces of fruit and things like that to keep us energized which i think is very thoughtful and not at all disrespectful or anything.

The other art i take, shaolin, is very different from aikido. The atmosphere is very informal and people are just going back and forth to their water bottles all night. Shaolin though, is very strenuous and exhausting. Every class i pour sweat and my shirt gets soaking wet. At an average shaolin practice i can go through 1 1/2 - 2 bottles of water, and thats for a 2 - 2 1/2 hour class. Sometimes i really wonder if i'm overdoing it but i haven't had any problems from drinking that much water yet, and like i said , if i'm sweating that much , i can hardly help from just guzzling it down.

05-14-2006, 07:43 PM
Honestly, I don't even understand why this is an issue :rolleyes:

05-15-2006, 10:42 AM
One important thing to note. You should try to drink the water as close to room temperature as you can stand. The colder the water is, the greater the chance it will upset your stomach, and the longer it will take to hydrate you.