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Daniel Lloyd
06-24-2010, 07:12 PM
I've just been reading another post - Sensei and Size, and it's rather interesting.

So I thought, does being heavier (larger centre) improve one's Aikido?
Due to greater ability to keep weight underside and being more balanced/stable.

Abasan
06-24-2010, 07:14 PM
lol

Keith Larman
06-24-2010, 07:15 PM
I had a Japanese sensei comment one day that I have the perfect Aikido body. I'm 6 feet tall, 240 pounds, but I have very short legs (under 30" inseam). Ectomorph, wide across the shoulders, and yes, bigger than I should be. But that low center of gravity can be a tough nut to crack for some people. Not to mention the fact I work on swords all day long and have what some call "Popeye" forearms from holding swords for polishing.

Anyway, the point being that there are some advantages to having a lower relative center of gravity. I can get under other people my same height easier than most. Now if I was only good enough to actually take advantage of it...

Chuck Clark
06-24-2010, 07:54 PM
When I sit on a bench with two or three 6'3" guys, we all look the same height... when we stand up, I come up to their shoulders or so... I'm 5' 7" with an inseam of 27"... in other words... a knuckle dragger. :-)

Best regards,

Marc Abrams
06-24-2010, 08:08 PM
I am 5' 5" (at least when I wake up) and 150lbs.. Aikido has failed me so I switched to Midget Ryu and it works great :D !

Marc Abrams

David Orange
06-24-2010, 08:52 PM
I've just been reading another post - Sensei and Size, and it's rather interesting.

So I thought, does being heavier (larger centre) improve one's Aikido?
Due to greater ability to keep weight underside and being more balanced/stable.

Actually, I think that's why a lot of aikido and judo people get heavier--so they'll be harder for the opponent to move.

On the other hand, the heavier one gets, the harder it is to move him/herself. After all, every time you get thrown, you have to get back up...

And every time you go to a knee, you have to stand back up...

And every time you simply do irimi/tenkan, etc., you're moving extra weight around.

There's definitely an ideal point for every person. Like an airplane, thrust is offset by drag. So you can only benefit by extra heaviness up to a point.

FWIW

David

David Orange
06-24-2010, 08:54 PM
I am 5' 5" ...and 150lbs..

Really? You seem bigger in person.

I remember when I first met Mochizuki Sensei, and stood face-to-face with him, I came away with the impression that he was taller than I.

David

fisher6000
06-24-2010, 09:55 PM
I'm tiny and basically made of styrofoam--very light. In some ways, this helps me. I try to muscle people all the time, but I rarely succeed. I am forced by most of my uke to understand the principles and not clothesline, push or pull. I also feel like my relative lightness helps my ukemi in some ways. It's relatively easy to fly, easy to get up.

But I also have a hard time feeling heavy, feeling the underside of the circle, feeling even the soles of my feet on the mat can be a challenge.

L. Camejo
06-24-2010, 10:10 PM
So I thought, does being heavier (larger centre) improve one's Aikido?
Due to greater ability to keep weight underside and being more balanced/stable.Imho power to weight ratio is important. If one is bigger with the requisite core and lower body muscle to move the weight effortlessly then any negative effects may not be immediately felt. But bring in other aspects such as cardiovascular fitness, endurance, flexibility etc. then being too large can definitely have a downside or two.

As for me, I've found that losing 15 lbs recently has increased my speed, neuromuscular response time, overall coordination and precision of technique. In full tanto randori/shiai the difference in time and space because of size can have a serious effect imho. Since timing is critical, that change in weight/size can be the difference between executing effective waza or being stabbed with a rubber knife.

To me, the weight can be advantageous in executing certain types of waza but if it hampers ones tai sabaki too much it may not matter.

My 2 cents.

LC

Adam Huss
06-24-2010, 10:13 PM
Power is not generated from fat, its from technique. Relying on weight for power is nearly the equivalent of relying on strength for muscling through technique. That, and being needlessly overweight is unhealthy. Many of the most powerful aikidoka I've seen are rather small...to include Ueshiba Morihei Sensei (well I didn't see him, of course). To get to his level when he created aikido, Ueshiba Sensei worked very hard on physical fitness and effective technique. Some feel they can start where Ueshiba Sensei finished, which is fine; but for my training I rely on repetition, focus, correct form, robust/austere training for tanren, repetition, etc. Certainly weight begets mass, and mass can be applied to technique....but I feel this argument, which I've heard before, recommends a dangerous pursuit of training.

This reply is for the average aikidoka, not the exception like those with gout, rare blood disorders, paraplegics (the one sensei I know is quite fit, actually), someone with half a lung (actually that sensei is also quite fit and competes jujitsu as well as teach aikido, I think), or what other type of ailness that inhibits fitness.

Buck
06-25-2010, 12:03 AM
After reading this thread to this point, I want to make a comment. I would prefer to be a greater value to the reader than my mere comment.

It is my understanding the Japanese didn't have the came concept of exercise that the West had prior to WWII as a general marker. Japanese basically trained in their martial art, it wasn't anything as structured or organized, for example, America did round the late 1800's and early 1900's. Or what the German's had prior to WWII. It was a thing called rajio taisō and other things that had caught on with the Japanese after WWII. But before that fitness (achieving a peak physical form) wasn't such an issue, that is. being fat wasn't considered an issue.

Prior to WWII depending on the period in history the Japanese diet was poor or limited, food wasn't as plenty, and stuff like that contributed to some Japanese being thin, but not fit, like muscular. But, I remember reading somewhere that O'Sesnei in his 30's or so was a husky or large man. Implying he was fat. Not obese, just had more than 10% body fat, and a healthy BMI. (I will come anyone who is a qualified expert in the field to correct any of that.)

Yet, on the other hand, for centuries, Japanese martial artists where fat, no, rather obese, and the more obese the better. A martial art allot of people over look is Sumo.

Some contend that being over weight doesn't help your Aikido, and others feel the opposite. But I don't think Aikido is or was, or even designed for any size or shape in particular. If you are medically obese say 100-200 lbs over weight that is a serious medical problem not an Aikido problem.

Yes the Aikidoka with a pot belly (aesthetics) looks less athletic and goes against our ideal of the perfect human. A pot belly Aikidoka is seen as undisciplined and all that negativity stuff. But that isn't or hasn't always been the case for Japanese until Rajio Taisō which got popular along with other cultural stuff happened to get the public to see the athletic japanese is the ideal.

Just some comments.

ruthmc
06-25-2010, 08:41 AM
I've just been reading another post - Sensei and Size, and it's rather interesting.

So I thought, does being heavier (larger centre) improve one's Aikido?
Due to greater ability to keep weight underside and being more balanced/stable.
As I wrote in the other thread, my experience of training while pregnant (now 6 months) has been to find a better connection with the ground, greater ability to use 'weight underside' and having that extra bit of mass to put behind techniques has improved things for me.

On the downside, I can't take ukemi so easily (bump gets in the way) and will probably have to stop forwards rolls soon, plus getting back up from the ground is so much harder :drool: I'm slower than I used to be too.

Balance hasn't been an issue so far - I seem to be keeping up with my changing centre ok :)

Overall I'd say that once I lose the baby weight and resume training, I'll be back on better form having gained some new insight, but I'll get back to my pre-pregnancy weight (and as near as I can shape!) as overall this is more comfortable for training long-term.

Ruth

RED
06-25-2010, 03:10 PM
Weight matters to me. Not just saying that as a typical woman who always thinks she's fat.
I was a lot heavier when I started Aikido. My joints hurt more back then. The less weight on those joints the easier it is to move honestly.

Aikido is intuitive to life, therefore, If being over weight is bad for you in every other aspect of your health and life, than why would it not be also bad for Aikido?

David Orange
06-25-2010, 03:57 PM
If being over weight is bad for you in every other aspect of your health and life, than why would it not be also bad for Aikido?

Right. Very well put.

David

David Orange
06-25-2010, 04:09 PM
It is my understanding the Japanese didn't have the came concept of exercise that the West had prior to WWII as a general marker. ... But before that fitness (achieving a peak physical form) wasn't such an issue, that is. being fat wasn't considered an issue.

This may have been true for average Japanese, but it was never true for martial artists or the samurai.

Prior to WWII depending on the period in history the Japanese diet was poor or limited, food wasn't as plenty, and stuff like that contributed to some Japanese being thin, but not fit, like muscular.

Again, maybe for workaday folks, but martial artists were fighters and were very oriented to strength and muscle. They trained fanatically for a high level of fitness and it often literally meant survival or death for them.

But, I remember reading somewhere that O'Sesnei in his 30's or so was a husky or large man. Implying he was fat. Not obese, just had more than 10% body fat, and a healthy BMI.

I think you've misunderstood this very badly. OSensei ate a very simple diet and exercised constantly. He was powerful--not fat.

Yet, on the other hand, for centuries, Japanese martial artists where fat, no, rather obese, and the more obese the better. A martial art allot of people over look is Sumo.

This, too, is a misundertanding. It's true that the sumo were extremely fat, but martial artists (samurai) were seldom fat. Highly trained and obsessive with exercise, they were not commonly obese.

David

Janet Rosen
06-25-2010, 05:01 PM
I find being short and round (wide-boned esp at hips), essentially a badger, is a real advantage. It is very easy for me to connect w/ the earth, sink into my center, and having a lower center of gravity than most of my partners is a real advantage. Of course, since I have no natural talent for any movement based activity, I use any advantage I can :-)
Weight however... no.... not good. Every pound of weight I lose will be four pounds less pressure on my poor knee, which will make it easier for me to move around the mat. Working on it....

Adam Huss
06-25-2010, 06:26 PM
Weight however... no.... not good. Every pound of weight I lose will be four pounds less pressure on my poor knee, which will make it easier for me to move around the mat. Working on it....

Very true. I am rather young, yet a little overweight (for a Marine, anyway), but am highly physical active and maintain a reasonably high level of fitness given Marine Corps standards. That being said, the little bit of excess fat I have from my indulgences has really made a difference on my knees and, to a lesser extent, my lower back. When I was 8-10% BF, going out for a 7 mile run was not problem....now that I'm around 20% BF a 7 mile run, or a three day seminar, takes its toll on me. To compare fitness level, when I was 10% BF, I had a lower overall physical fitness and combat fitness test scores than I do now (though I could run a lot faster then).

Buck
06-25-2010, 10:43 PM
This may have been true for average Japanese, but it was never true for martial artists or the samurai.

Again, maybe for workaday folks, but martial artists were fighters and were very oriented to strength and muscle. They trained fanatically for a high level of fitness and it often literally meant survival or death for them.

This, too, is a misundertanding. It's true that the sumo were extremely fat, but martial artists (samurai) were seldom fat. Highly trained and obsessive with exercise, they were not commonly obese.

David
I know you are a very intelligent person, I am not going to assume what you're saying is that the samurai had a concept of western exercise and fitness programs, likened to that in the USA say around 1900. I think if I had written out a blog and did it in a formal academic construction there wouldn't have a been a misunderstanding. I stated the above only for clarification purposes so we can discuss this topic without such hinderances.
I was making a broad state as it is too difficult with a result of more confusion to flesh out all the different periods in Japanese history. I generally believe as I stated in my original post, that the Japanese where not into the idea of a structured physical fitness and health (diet) program as Westerners where such as the Germans prior to and into WII. I do agree training, though I am not sure how fanatical it was throughout samurai history it was. I see a clear marker and example (of several) being Judo as a point in time where training was more organized and structured, and such, more then ever before. Hence my purpose for pointing out Rajio Taisō.

I think you've misunderstood this very badly. OSensei ate a very simple diet and exercised constantly. He was powerful--not fat.

I may have, though my point was that Sumo fighters are not looked as weak, rather very strong and powerful. That model of large is looked as power is reflected upon O'Sensei. How many great Martial artists in their biographies mention they where weak, small and sickly kids who where put into martial arts to strengthen them. Of course this is a frequent device. In terms of O'Sensei's case being described as large it shows how he was a powerful and strong man. The obsession we have of with size and weight i.e. the "ideal" weight and size, and BMI was not a consideration. What was focused on was the larger the person, as seen in Sumo, the more power a person was, beside other things. I think what I read was saying O'Sensei when he was say at his peaked age was large with equated to strong and powerful. There was sketch of O'Sensei and how the author of the article perceived O'Sensei. That was much larger then what he actually was. That is what I getting at.

Per the Samurai I don't think all where six packed sinewed zero body fat muscle bound athletes like Mishima. Nor do I believe he represented the samurai of past. Rather the new movement who wanted to revive the romanticized ideal, where Mishima took from and possibly retooled that ideal of a samurai based on Hagakure. Here could be the fallacy so many of us subscribe too. The . thinness or fatness of anyone samurai was based on the Japanese diet for centuries centered around fish and rice food stuffs. And the availability of limited portions in the diet. Thus the control of rice fields in feudal Japanese and alike was critical. Thus, my understanding via classes and books, that many daimyos at certain points in Japanese history hoarded food stuffs and samurai ate well. And they didn't obsessively train 24/7, or have exercise and diet programs to keep the weight down. I could be wrong but that is what I am putting on the table.

This relates to Aikido in the sense that we have a variety of models both concrete and speculative and that this idea of perfect thin fitness is more of Mishima's generation than that of the past. Hence being fat like in Sumo shouldn't effect a person's Aikido. What effects are many other pressing things. That is fat people still can do Aikido, and if their health, as a thin, person is good they can still do Aikido effectively. This is my view. I have seen people thin and it effect their Aikido, and I have seen obese people (by recent re-classifications of lowering the BMI to denote obesity) effect their Aikido. But, that isn't a major factor to success or failure.

Dave thanks for your comments it is always good to have feedback and other people's thoughts. This I think enhances the thread and provides those individuals thinking or concern about this topic a viable resource.

David Orange
06-26-2010, 12:11 AM
I know you are a very intelligent person, I am not going to assume what you're saying is that the samurai had a concept of western exercise and fitness programs, likened to that in the USA say around 1900.

It seems you mean "fitness for fitness' sake". In fact, they did have something like that, but not in the Western sense. And the samurai were not acting from so casual a base, but were concerned with total expulsion of weakness from the body and mind. And the whole culture was obsessed with "work" to avoid the serious shame of "being lazy." But the samurai in particular were concerned not with "fitness for fitness' sake" but with fitness as a competitive struggle against every other man one might meet, for the vital edge for survival's sake. So, no, they weren't doing exercises based on the appearance of the body or things like that, but for life-and-death edge, for physical power and because their view of the world includes the body as a shrine for divine power.

Still, Jigoro Kano was heavily influenced in the late 1800s by Western thought and he developed judo and promoted it in the school systems as a form of both mental and physical fitness. So, if anything, the Japanese approach has always been a step ahead of (or beyond) Western "exercise".

...I generally believe as I stated in my original post, that the Japanese where not into the idea of a structured physical fitness and health (diet) program as Westerners where such as the Germans prior to and into WII.

No, as a society in whole, they were not. But the martial artists among them were. And many people who were not martial artists but spiritual ascetitcs also pursued harsh physical discipline as a form of spiritual forging--not as a "physical" fitness regime but as a way for the spirit to overcome the natural decadent tendencies of the body. Rajio taiku was Western-sourced and Western-reasoned. Martial arts always had their own extreme conditioning and their own rationale for how that was done--for survival and spiritual polishing.

I do agree training, though I am not sure how fanatical it was throughout samurai history it was.

Of course, in the Edo period the austere training fell from its former place and many samurai grew soft. Likewise, older guys with position and security could get more and better food and didn't have to work as hard and a lot of them did become fat. And there were also naturally big-boned men who appeared stout and even fat, but who could still be extremely powerful. And there were those who did become fat, soft and lazy. But they did so at peril from the tough men below them as well as from their own deterioration through all kinds of over-indulgence.

I see a clear marker and example (of several) being Judo as a point in time where training was more organized and structured, and such, more then ever before. Hence my purpose for pointing out Rajio Taisō.

That was for the popular consumption, however, and really not related at all to martial arts.

I think you've misunderstood this very badly. OSensei ate a very simple diet and exercised constantly. He was powerful--not fat.

They say he was built like a fireplug and was completely solid--though entirely relaxed. Read back in Aikido Journal articles where they describe him living on rice, fish and pickles--and not much of those. He lived an austere life by choice and inclination. He enjoyed living that way and didn't like the feeling of living otherwise.

I may have, though my point was that Sumo fighters are not looked as weak, rather very strong and powerful. That model of large is looked as power is reflected upon O'Sensei.

But he was really a tiny man: just very powerfully developed. He was small but tremendously sturdy. Compare that to Gozo Shioda, who was similarly small but very skinny and never thick. Kyoichi Murai of the yoseikan was even tinier than that, but very similar to Shioda in the ability to project intense, serious power.

...The obsession we have of with size and weight i.e. the "ideal" weight and size, and BMI was not a consideration.

That is correct but the Japanese martial artist seldom relied on weight or associated it with power in and of itself. Look at Yoshio Sugino, one of the tiniest men ever, who quit judo because they created weight classes. He believed that every judo man should fight all comers, regardless of weight, and he excelled in judo before he devoted himself entirely to aikido and katori shinto ryu kenjutsu. Men like that were certainly not concerned with BMI, but they carried no extra fat on their bodies.

What was focused on was the larger the person, as seen in Sumo, the more power a person was, beside other things.

Again, look at Shioda handling huge men and laughing. And go to Aikido Journal and read up on Yoshio Sugino. Many of the most revered and awesome martial artists were unusually tiny men. Sokaku Takeda, for instance. He was nowhere near the build of Ueshiba, but he controlled the biggest and strongest men in Japan--such as the sumo tori Tenryu.

The . thinness or fatness of anyone samurai was based on the Japanese diet for centuries centered around fish and rice food stuffs. And the availability of limited portions in the diet. Thus the control of rice fields in feudal Japanese and alike was critical. Thus, my understanding via classes and books, that many daimyos at certain points in Japanese history hoarded food stuffs and samurai ate well.

As in any power position, the one with the gold makes the rules, and the daimyo and their top men could eat and overeat, but the men below them had to fight for what they got. But you are right that some samurai were fat. But they also overindulged in other ways and were not ascetic warriors but bureaucrats over warriors.

And they didn't obsessively train 24/7, or have exercise and diet programs to keep the weight down. I could be wrong but that is what I am putting on the table.

Well you're right that "keeping the weight down" was not their motivation. For serious samurai, hard physical training was their way. Their motivations were spiritual development and combat survival--or combat supremacy. Survival was less important to them than killing the enemy. But all this was based in a belief that the body is the shrine of divinity, to be strengthened, guarded and constantly groomed as a tribute to divinity. And this is where modern aikido with overly fat teachers becomes very bad aikido even if the outer appearance of the technique is seemingly "correct".

This relates to Aikido in the sense that we have a variety of models both concrete and speculative and that this idea of perfect thin fitness is more of Mishima's generation than that of the past.

Let's see...Morihei Ueshiba, Gozo Shioda, Minoru Mochizuki, in aikido. Add in Koichi Tohei and Morhiro Saito.

Sokaku Takeda, Yukiyoshi Sagawa, Kodo Horikawa in aikijujutsu.

Where are the fat guys?

Those are our models for aikido. Those are the models for aikido. Mostly rather thin and anyway very fit and not fat.

Of course, if you get down to master Bobby Thomas or Leroy Green, far departed from the models above, if you want to make those guys your models, then there's no telling what you're going to be modeling.

Hence being fat like in Sumo shouldn't effect a person's Aikido.

But what we think of as "fat" is far removed from the power of a "fat" sumo tori and I've yet to meet a "fat" aikido man who approached that kind of power or fitness.

David

Buck
06-26-2010, 10:40 AM
To close with you Dave, and it has been a pleasure reading and exchanging ideas. For the sake of those wondering or concerned with their weight in terms of Aikido, those being 100+ pounds over, and depending on weight, skeletal, tendon, muscle structures of the person could affect a person's ability to do Aikido-within the general model of how Aikido technique should be done. But that would also be true for a tall people say a height past 6' 5."

I believe that article I read about O'Sensei was a fabrication a commonly held perception that size equates to strength when overcome others, as modeled by Sumo, and the laws of physics. And that the "idea" that a person has to be at of an idea weight and shape will affect your Aikido positively is a myth. Per O'Sensei and his top Aikidoka, we see know to exact "ki power" -being defined as physics employed at a high level where muscle strength is out of the equation-has nothing to do directly with BMI. The limitations of movement with someone who is 100+ lbs can interfere, but so does something like arthritis, or other aliments.

Dave, it has been a pleasure and I hope we have provided those reading this post who are concerned with weight will have more information to make decisions about their Aikido development.

dps
06-26-2010, 12:11 PM
I've just been reading another post - Sensei and Size, and it's rather interesting.

So I thought, does being heavier (larger centre) improve one's Aikido?
Due to greater ability to keep weight underside and being more balanced/stable.

Get a weighted exercised vest.
http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:vSwAD6H6T2BSuM:https://www.getfitsource.com/images/Weighted-Exercise-Vest.jpg

Then add fifty pounds to it and attend Aikido practice. Do you feel the difference?

David

Amassus
06-26-2010, 04:58 PM
I think being in good shape matters, no matter what your size. It makes sense to me to make the most of what you have got and develop your aikido to match your body shape.

I'm 6 foot flat and quite lean. A very similar build to my own instructor in fact. Our aikido has differences to say, a friend of mine who is short and stocky.

Good health is good health.

Happy training!

Dean.

Buck
06-26-2010, 07:47 PM
I believe that article I read about O'Sensei was a fabrication a commonly held perception that size equates to strength when overcome others, as modeled by Sumo, and the laws of physics. And that the "idea" that a person has to be at of an idea weight and shape will affect your Aikido positively is a myth. Per O'Sensei and his top Aikidoka, we see now to exact "ki power" -being defined as physics employed at a high level where muscle strength is out of the equation-has nothing to do directly with BMI. The limitations of movement with someone who is 100+ lbs can interfere, but so does something like arthritis, or other aliments.

.

I didn't lay that out as well as I should have. Ki power -developing it, using it, and such has nothing to do with weight, size, or hair color. Yes, being 100+ lbs over weight is going to interfere with Aikido movements, just as too much muscle interferes, mass is mass regardless if it is muscle or fat. Yes, the specifics of interference are not identical, but limited motion is limited motion. If your chest is so big due to muscle or fat to limit motion of your arm to complete a technique effectively, than that is an issue. The solution is either adjust the technique to work or abandon it for another. But size large or small can effect Irimi and Tenkan; everyone is different hence employment is not the same for everyone, as they have to adjust to make it effective. That is to say since no two bodies are identical, each individual must make adjustments as a result of their differing body structure, and all that. Weight doesn't effect either of these principles in the same way as a large chest interferes with the full range of movement of the arm during a technique.

Not to get bogged downed on details I will keep things very basic and simple. We assume such limitations as above are a negative with a large person in applying Irimi or Tenkan. Yet, a positive result with a thin person. But having a large body in terms of developing these principle may reduce over-movement, over-correction or over-stepping. Having a large body may reduce the learning curve. Where as going beyond the right point to apply the principles; making greater gross movements are more likely with a thinner person. Add Taisabaki to that as well. Maybe being heavy has its advantage. And yes, the waza of larger person will be different than a thin. But that doesn't mean either is more beneficial than the other. Just that approach and execution of principles and waza are not going to be identical, there will be differences as a result to size differences. One isn't better than the other.

I am not saying this is the absolute, just an observation placed on the table of discussion. :)

Buck
06-26-2010, 08:11 PM
I am still not happy with my last post, it is difficult to really layout my thoughts in such a limited form, as a post vs. a full paper. Please understand this is just a shell of an idea and shouldn't be taken too seriously. But hopefully, it is enough to provide a gateway to explore this concept further.

Carsten Möllering
06-27-2010, 01:47 AM
Maybe being heavy has its advantage. In my experience larger persons have to learn everything the very same way as others.
If somebody suffers from overweight he or she even has more diffiuculties to learn and to advance.
Especially the ukemi we do is not easy to do then.

One isn't better than the other. In my experiences there are no advantages if being overweight. It's the other way round.
Overweight hinders training the way we do aikido. And as I said above there are not much people in aikido here, which suffer from overweight. You see this very seldom.

And aikido is meant to educate a person, to develop body and mind, to form a personality. So suffering from overweight or not is not only a "practical" question.



Carsten

Anita Dacanay
06-27-2010, 05:56 AM
Generally speaking, I think that the majority of us agree that being overweight is not necessarily an advantage in life or in Aikido.

But I would think that it is very true indeed that one's size and weight affect his/her Aikido. Of course they do. Whether they affect it for good or ill is up to the individual.

If someone is good enough, he or she will know how to use his/her body, mind, energy - entire being - to his/her advantage.

A general response to this and the other conversation regarding "large" Sensei: I don't see the productivity of having discussions about who is fat and why and whether or not they should do something about it. What is the point of that, aside to make oneself feel superior?

If you yourself are concerned with maintaining good fitness, then do so! If you are concerned with promoting fitness, then do so. Running about pointing out other people's obesity and shaking your head about it will not promote fitness or improve your Aikido, in my opinion.

Shadowfax
06-27-2010, 08:23 AM
In my experience larger persons have to learn everything the very same way as others.
If somebody suffers from overweight he or she even has more diffiuculties to learn and to advance.
Especially the ukemi we do is not easy to do then.

Actually its a lot easier to be a ball when you are shaped like a ball. And being "well padded" makes the landing much less damaging on the body. I feel more for all the people who are nothing but sharp angles hitting the mat. Looks like that would hurt. :freaky: Quite honestly I really enjoy ukemi although, yes in the beginning, it was a challenge for me to learn it.

As for learning and advancing. Well I've caught up with and will likely overtake a few people in the dojo who started out well before I did.... if one has the dedication and the drive. Size is but a small issue in whether one progresses or not. And as one person in the dojo once said to me.... I have one heck of a killer drive.:D

In my experiences there are no advantages if being overweight. It's the other way round.
Overweight hinders training the way we do aikido. And as I said above there are not much people in aikido here, which suffer from overweight. You see this very seldom.
Carsten

Agree being over weight is not an advantage at all. But it is also not really a disadvantage unless one allows it to be one. I would not say that the size of my body helps or hinders my aikido. Of course being more deeply centered and grounded than most, I do tend to have a bit of an effect on other peoples aikido. But I don't see that particular ability as coming from my size so much as just who I am and the background I have. I just don't loose my center all that easily.

I would hope that when I eventually shed this extra weight I'll still be just as difficult to move as I am now. And being stronger than most of my training partners, if anything, is a disadvantage as I have to remember not to muscle a technique even though I very easily can.

Being over weight is not a good or desirable thing. But for some it seems, myself included, that it will be a never ending battle. I for one am not going to allow my size to prevent me from doing the things I love to do, and doing them well.

Anita, thank you for your thoughtful post.

Brian Gillaspie
06-27-2010, 10:41 AM
I have lost about 30 pounds over the last 6 months and it has definitely not had a negative impact on my training. It is kind of difficult to tell exacly if/how it has impacted my aikido in a postive way but I know my fitness level is much better so I don't get tired as easy.

Depending on how you train, I think your fitness level is more important than weight. Our dojo training is very physical so it takes a toll on people who are out of shape. From my observances, fitness level and weight are correlated but not always. We have had some pretty big guys in class who would really push themselves and would suprise you with your fitness level. And on the other had we have had guys that were like sticks but probably couldn't run a 100 meters without falling over.

NagaBaba
06-27-2010, 06:46 PM
I believe topic is not about being overweight.

WEIGHT:
As you can see i.e. in judo or Olympic wrestling, there are the weight categories. The reason is simple: more there is a body-to-body contact, more weight counts. In aikido we have far less contact, but still, some static techniques requires a lot of contact to unbalance attacker. Particularly we can see it in front or rear both hands grab attacks, or chokes. As not everyone is able to create a dynamism even from static attacks, as long you are not doing 'aikido before contact' (TM), you are in disadvantage compared to equally trained heavier attacker.

SIZE:
Shorter aikidoka has a big advantage compared to tall one - aikido was created by VERY short man. Usually, from technical point of view, to be able to take attacker center with ones own center require to enter under the level of his hips. And most of aikido techniques are based on this principle.Only for this reason, I believe it is a very big challenge to learn aikido for tall and very tall ppl.

If I combine size and weight, the perfect combination is short, heavy aikidoka. Just like O sensei LOL

Shadowfax
06-27-2010, 08:13 PM
I believe topic is not about being overweight.

WEIGHT:
As you can see i.e. in judo or Olympic wrestling, there are the weight categories. The reason is simple: more there is a body-to-body contact, more weight counts. In aikido we have far less contact, but still, some static techniques requires a lot of contact to unbalance attacker. Particularly we can see it in front or rear both hands grab attacks, or chokes. As not everyone is able to create a dynamism even from static attacks, as long you are not doing 'aikido before contact' (TM), you are in disadvantage compared to equally trained heavier attacker.

Good point but I think then it really does not matter. The point goes to the person with the most skill. And at least form what I have seen so far the person who can stay the most relaxed and centered and does the least seems to be the most effective. At least, I've noticed, that against someone of equal or greater training level using my weight and power becomes a big disadvantage most of the time. As uke he harder I come at them the farther I fly and as Nage if I try to muscle them I generally wind up giving them something to use against me. Sure sometimes I can force it with strength and weight, but then its not aikido anymore.

Adam Huss
06-27-2010, 08:38 PM
aikido was created by VERY short man.

However Ueshiba Sensei was comparable in size to other Japanese in which he developed his aikido with.

Chris Li
06-27-2010, 08:50 PM
However Ueshiba Sensei was comparable in size to other Japanese in which he developed his aikido with.

Then why did he have to struggle to make the minimum height requirement for the army?

Best,

Chris

ruthmc
06-28-2010, 08:29 AM
However Ueshiba Sensei was comparable in size to other Japanese in which he developed his aikido with.

Then why did he have to struggle to make the minimum height requirement for the army?

Best,

Chris

And he was certainly more muscular than most in his younger days, looking at the old photos..

Ruth

David Orange
06-28-2010, 10:23 AM
As you can see i.e. in judo or Olympic wrestling, there are the weight categories. The reason is simple: more there is a body-to-body contact, more weight counts.

It was not always that way in judo, though. See Aikido Journal's articles on Yoshio Sugino. One of the tiniest men ever, he was incredibly formidable in judo and he strenuously opposed weight classes in judo because he (like Mifune) would take on anyone and usually won.

He quit judo when they instituted weight classes because he felt that took something important from the experience and thereby changed the basic nature of judo.

I think the same thing applies to aikido. Relying on extra weight to effect techniques or allowing an attacker's extra weight to limit your technique are both failures of understanding.

And as for "getting under" the attacker, that can, in fact, be done when your hips are higher than the opponent's. That's a lot of what the internal strength discussions are about and why modern technical aikido and judo fall far short of the arts of Takeda, Ueshiba, Mifune and Sugino.

David

David Orange
06-28-2010, 10:26 AM
However Ueshiba Sensei was comparable in size to other Japanese in which he developed his aikido with.

Actually, Ueshiba was rather smaller than average, even for Japan. But he was bigger than Sokaku Takeda, I believe.

So look at tiny men like Sokaku, Sugino and Kyoichi Murai and wonder how they could completely dominate much larger and already-well-trained men of considerably greater weight.

FWIW

David

Keith Larman
06-28-2010, 12:59 PM
So look at tiny men like Sokaku, Sugino and Kyoichi Murai and wonder how they could completely dominate much larger and already-well-trained men of considerably greater weight.

FWIW

David

Staying out of the argument overall, I would point out that saying this sort of thing does little to forward one's position. The retort would be "well, then, imagine how much *more* powerful they would have been had they been bigger!"

I have some sympathy for those trying to throw me at times. I'm about 240 pounds. 6 feet tall. Barrel chested Norwegian stock with no legs and all upper body. So a low center of gravity, lots of muscle, very dense (in many ways), but also with extra weight I would certain rather not have (another discussion). It is very hard to move me. And when i do certain throws where I'm dropping someone down... Well, me dropping my weight down into my hands vs. someone who weighs half of what I do dropping their weight down into their hands... Big difference.

The issue is however very complex which is why these discussions tend to go nowhere. We try to speak in generalities while simply picking and choosing those things that benefit our point of view. Confirmation bias. So what I wrote above as a response to some comments I think is perfectly valid point -- extra weight is great on anything you're doing that involved "weight underside". And then transmission of that weight into the attacker. I'm sorry, you can't make physics go away. Of course that same person may not be as mobile, as healthy, as fast, or whatever due to that extra weight which creates disadvantages as well.

In other words... The question is flawed because it is too general. And most are correct within their narrowly defined scenarios.

Adam Huss
06-28-2010, 01:15 PM
Then why did he have to struggle to make the minimum height requirement for the army?

Best,

Chris

Hmmm,

now that sounds familiar. I guess a "my bad" is due.


Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is I don't think smaller people are necessarily better at aikido, like I don't think that fat people are necessarily better at aikido.

NagaBaba
06-28-2010, 01:50 PM
It was not always that way in judo, though. See Aikido Journal's articles on Yoshio Sugino. One of the tiniest men ever, he was incredibly formidable in judo and he strenuously opposed weight classes in judo because he (like Mifune) would take on anyone and usually won.

He quit judo when they instituted weight classes because he felt that took something important from the experience and thereby changed the basic nature of judo.

I think the same thing applies to aikido. Relying on extra weight to effect techniques or allowing an attacker's extra weight to limit your technique are both failures of understanding.

And as for "getting under" the attacker, that can, in fact, be done when your hips are higher than the opponent's. That's a lot of what the internal strength discussions are about and why modern technical aikido and judo fall far short of the arts of Takeda, Ueshiba, Mifune and Sugino.

David

I'm well aware the weight categories are recent innovation. But they were introduced for important reasons. I agree also there are some very exceptional artists that are able to neutralize their own disadvantage when attacker is much heavier. However, in daily training, for us, mortals, as I already wrote "you are in disadvantage compared to equally trained heavier attacker".

I don't see it as "limiting my technique". On contrary, it forces me to enrich my technique every time I deal with somebody 100 pounds heavier than me(and that really happens regularly). But I have no illusions what can be done and what not in the dojo environment where you protect an attacker. I saw ppl who like you didn't respect that and got seriously injured by their own ego (not intentionally by attacker!!!). You can't cheat gravity.

I have average weight but as a uke I can be very heavy and redistribute a power of the aikido technique to degree zero. If you give me 100 pounds more it becomes scary to think how I can use this additional weight…

Also I tend to separate the legends from reality of training.

NagaBaba
06-28-2010, 01:52 PM
Staying out of the argument overall, I would point out that saying this sort of thing does little to forward one's position. The retort would be "well, then, imagine how much *more* powerful they would have been had they been bigger!"

I have some sympathy for those trying to throw me at times. I'm about 240 pounds. 6 feet tall. Barrel chested Norwegian stock with no legs and all upper body. So a low center of gravity, lots of muscle, very dense (in many ways), but also with extra weight I would certain rather not have (another discussion). It is very hard to move me. And when i do certain throws where I'm dropping someone down... Well, me dropping my weight down into my hands vs. someone who weighs half of what I do dropping their weight down into their hands... Big difference.

The issue is however very complex which is why these discussions tend to go nowhere. We try to speak in generalities while simply picking and choosing those things that benefit our point of view. Confirmation bias. So what I wrote above as a response to some comments I think is perfectly valid point -- extra weight is great on anything you're doing that involved "weight underside". And then transmission of that weight into the attacker. I'm sorry, you can't make physics go away. Of course that same person may not be as mobile, as healthy, as fast, or whatever due to that extra weight which creates disadvantages as well.

In other words... The question is flawed because it is too general. And most are correct within their narrowly defined scenarios.
Good post Keith. It concords well with my experiences.

DH
06-28-2010, 02:10 PM
Staying out of the argument overall, I would point out that saying this sort of thing does little to forward one's position. The retort would be "well, then, imagine how much *more* powerful they would have been had they been bigger!"

I have some sympathy for those trying to throw me at times. I'm about 240 pounds. 6 feet tall. Barrel chested Norwegian stock with no legs and all upper body. So a low center of gravity, lots of muscle, very dense (in many ways), but also with extra weight I would certain rather not have (another discussion). It is very hard to move me. And when i do certain throws where I'm dropping someone down... Well, me dropping my weight down into my hands vs. someone who weighs half of what I do dropping their weight down into their hands... Big difference.

The issue is however very complex which is why these discussions tend to go nowhere. We try to speak in generalities while simply picking and choosing those things that benefit our point of view. Confirmation bias. So what I wrote above as a response to some comments I think is perfectly valid point -- extra weight is great on anything you're doing that involved "weight underside". And then transmission of that weight into the attacker. I'm sorry, you can't make physics go away. Of course that same person may not be as mobile, as healthy, as fast, or whatever due to that extra weight which creates disadvantages as well.

In other words... The question is flawed because it is too general. And most are correct within their narrowly defined scenarios.
Staying out of the argument overall:D
I would point out- that pointing out just HOW powerful they actually were while clearly having the weight disadvantage is a very good point.
Discounting "this sort of thing does little to forward one's position."
The retort would be "well, then, imagine how much *more* powerful they would have been had they been bigger!"....is no logic I can fathom. The larger people were not powerful enough to handle the little guys...Most smart people would want to know how the little guys did it.

If you want to talk about big; I'd rather imagine being a big guy and knowing what the little guys knew!;)
Cheers
Dan

DonMagee
06-28-2010, 02:17 PM
Technique can help make up the difference between strength, speed, and size.

Strength, speed, and size can help make up the difference in technique.

I see this often in bjj. New big guys are easy to handle. Give them a few months and they quickly become challenging with just a little bit of technique because that little bit of technique is multiplied by their size and strength. Same with little fast guys.

Now what is really scary is the big, fast, strong guys with awesome technique! Sometimes it's not a either/or situation.

DH
06-28-2010, 02:22 PM
Well since we are making extreme arguments without much balance.....


I have average weight but as a uke I can be very heavy and redistribute a power of the aikido technique to degree zero. If you give me 100 pounds more it becomes scary to think how I can use this additional weight…
Well, are you making the statement that using weight is always the same thing?
I have had men who outweight me by 60 pounds or so, stare at me like a deer in headlights when their familiar gambit of dropping their weight in to the opponent proved meaningless! Thankfully I've gotten better over the years as I lost more of the muscle mass I used to have.
Perhaps there is more to using it, more to knowing how to cancel it out then a discussion of mere weight would imply?
Perhaps there was more to it than just "technique" as well!
Also I tend to separate the legends from reality of training.
I did the opposite. Thankfully for me I separated the "reality of training" of the majority of all of the martial artists I have met in their respective arts...for the brilliance of the legends.
Someone knew exactly what they were talking about...it wasn't us!;)
Dan

RED
06-28-2010, 02:43 PM
If the issue is not about being over weight, then maybe there is something to be said about where one carries weight, not necessarily how much weight.

Budd
06-28-2010, 03:14 PM
"It's in the way that you use it" - Eric Clapton

DH
06-28-2010, 03:28 PM
If the issue is not about being over weight, then maybe there is something to be said about where one carries weight, not necessarily how much weight.
Nope
"It's in the way that you use it" - Eric Clapton
Yup :D

Adam Huss
06-28-2010, 03:36 PM
Well said up there, Keith, nice post.

Keith Larman
06-29-2010, 12:14 AM
If you want to talk about big; I'd rather imagine being a big guy and knowing what the little guys knew!;)
Cheers
Dan

Oh, absolutely. Tis my personal quest... No doubt about it.

Lorien Lowe
06-29-2010, 01:29 AM
In the course of my aikido career, I have gained a lot of weight and then lost it again. I think it was harder for others to move me when I weighed more, but also harder for me to move myself. My ukemi especially suffered with the extra weight - it just seemed like I was hitting the mat a lot harder, and I wasn't as flexible.

If the extra weight is muscle (without being so bulky that it limits flexibility), then the advantage gained in power might offset the disadvantage of innertia. I can't speak to that point, though.

David Orange
06-30-2010, 02:07 PM
I'm well aware the weight categories are recent innovation. But they were introduced for important reasons. I agree also there are some very exceptional artists that are able to neutralize their own disadvantage when attacker is much heavier.

That was original judo. The weight classes contributed greatly to erasing important knowledge from modern judo.

...I have no illusions what can be done and what not in the dojo environment where you protect an attacker. I saw ppl who like you didn't respect that and got seriously injured by their own ego (not intentionally by attacker!!!). You can't cheat gravity.

Not sure what you mean by "ppl like" me. My teacher was uchi deshi to Mifune and Yoshio Sugino was one of his best friends. The only judo I know is from that original line--not the modern sport. My teacher said "Nowadays, judo has become a dumping ground for overweight children" and that the modern sport relies on weight and force, which is why Sugino left judo for good.

Of course, size influences everything, but few people found bigger size to be an advantage against Mifune, Sugino or Mochizuki because they trained in complete judo.

Also I tend to separate the legends from reality of training.

Of course, when you don't know the people in question, how can you determine what is legend and what is real? And thinking these real people only legends, how could you begin to consider what gave them their truly fantastic abilities? (Hint:: it wasn't weight.)

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=3

Although he tried practically every sport available, Sugino’s real love was for budo, particularly judo and kendo. While at Keio, he began studying judo under Kunisaburo Iizuka, an 8th dan judoist who also taught at the Kodokan. Iizuka was even shorter than Sugino but he made up for his lack of height in his girth and exceptional skill. It was he who forged the young Sugino into a strong judo man. At first, Sugino was unable to win against any of his opponents because of his small size. “That was truly a difficult time for me,” he recalls. Sugino studied kendo for a time under a man named Tadatsu Shingai, who was employed in the Imperial Household Agency and was ranked “upper second kyu.” The dan system was not used at that time and practitioners were ranked instead from tenth kyu to first kyu, which ranks were further divided into upper, middle and lower levels. Given that a third kyu was roughly equivalent to a modern 4th dan, Shingai’s upper second kyu rank suggests he had considerable skill. Although Shingai urged Sugino to train seriously, Sugino seemed to show little aptitude for kendo (perhaps it did not quite fit his nature then) and he made little progress. After a while he decided to give it up.

Sugino’s real talent at the time was for judo. He trained every morning and evening, his desire to strengthen himself leading him to spend more time on the mat than anyone else. Iizuka’s training was strict and under him the Keio judo club (which had generally been considered too weak to amount to much) and Sugino grew steadily stronger. Sugino sometimes relates a story he once heard about his judo teacher: “Years ago in Kyushu, Iizuka defeated a certain classical jujutsu man using his judo. As he returned to his lodgings that evening, his opponent ambushed him, this time brandishing a blade and hurling abuse, but Iizuka took him down and pinned him beautifully.”

Iizuka was as strict when it came to etiquette as he was tough. Once Sugino was ordered by one of his seniors to referee a judo match, since there happened to be no one else in the dojo to do it just then. Hearing this, Iizuka roared, “Absolutely not! You don’t even have a hakama to wear today. We certainly can’t have someone with no hakama referee a judo match!” “Ordinarily Iizuka was a very gentle, very nice man,” says Sugino, “but in the dojo he was a tiger of a teacher. Even now I feel the highest respect and gratitude toward him.”

Undefeated in Judo
Once there was a judo tournament between Keio University and the four-school alliance comprised of Kuramae Engineering University, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Rissho University and Tokyo University of Fisheries. The Keio team being short on members, Iizuka arranged for Sugino to participate despite the fact that he was still only a first kyu. His opponents were all huge black-belts. But Sugino stepped onto the mat wearing his brown belt and threw his way through six of them, with the seventh match ending in a draw. Afterward his teammates crowded around him congratulating him: “You’re so small, but you fought so well in there! Even Iizuka Sensei thought so.” He came away from the tournament with unprecedented new confidence.

At the end of that same year Sugino took his shodan exam at the Kodokan on Iizuka’s recommendation. This time he defeated six opponents in a row, earning for himself the rank of “shodan with honors”, a rank which existed at that time and indicated performance above and beyond that required for an ordinary shodan. From then until earning his 4th dan, Sugino remained undefeated. Even in elimination-type series he would inevitably wind up first or at least in a draw with the last opponent.

His friend Minoru Mochizuki (present head of the Yoseikan) once commented about his judo skills: “Sugino? That guy has the kami [divine] in him!” One of Sugino’s favorite judo techniques was utsurigoshi (hip shift), a somewhat acrobatic technique in which the opponent’s throwing power is taken advantage of to throw him instead. He was also fond of urawaza (rear techniques) and kaeshiwaza (reversals) and always exploited openings left by opponents who carelessly underestimated him because of his small size. But more than anything he had the confidence that his teacher Iizuka had planted in him.

Sugino continued training in judo rigorously, day after day, constantly thinking of ways to strengthen himself and his technique. Being of a highly assertive disposition to begin with, he never hesitated to express his own opinions, even to his superiors. He once even argued with Jigoro Kano regarding a point of judo technique. Kano said that koshiguruma (hip wheel) and ogoshi (large hip throw) were the same technique. Sugino insisted they were different; for koshiguruma, he said, you load your opponent on your hips, whereas for ogoshi you do not. It was practically unheard of and highly irregular for a judo practitioner to argue about such things with the very founder of the art! But Sugino was of a strongly progressive spirit and never allowed himself to be bound by tradition or authority. Even then, though still relatively young, he was already searching for an answer to the question, “What should modern judo really be like?”

In May 1923 Sugino entered a judo competition in Taipei. He was selected as the first of five opponents to go against a third-dan judoka in a five-player elimination match. Judoka capable of making it through this sort of elimination competition are generally viewed as among the most skilled, with impressive strength and the ability to down at least five opponents in a match without too much difficulty. Perhaps deceived by Sugino’s small stature, the third-dan moved in to execute what he probably thought would be an easy inner-thigh reap, but at the last instant Sugino caught him with a lightning-fast utsurigoshi (hip shift), one of his favorite techniques. The throw had been nearly perfect, but it so surprised the referee that he became confused as to how to call it. He hesitated to stop the match since the player still had four opponents to go. Wondering why the referee had said nothing, Sugino continued the match and brought the third-dan to the mat in a strangle hold. Eventually his opponent tapped out in submission, but the referee ignored this as well. Having no other choice, Sugino continued to apply the technique until the poor fellow lost consciousness.

Basia Halliop
06-30-2010, 02:48 PM
It sounds like Sugino was originally at a disadvantage
"At first, Sugino was unable to win against any of his opponents because of his small size. "That was truly a difficult time for me," he recalls."

but trained and eventually developed sufficiently good technique to defeat larger opponents by being _more skilled_ than them...

Makes sense... what would be a disadvantage against someone _equally_ skilled can be a very good motivator and tool to help a person to become _more_ skilled....

I remember being told something similar the first time I went rock climbing... those with a lot of upper body strength sometimes get by at the beginning by dragging themselves up on their arms, then eventually find when they encounter more challenging routes that that isn't enough... those who are less strong are often forced out of necessity to develop balance and skill earlier in the learning process. I don't think it _always_ works that way in Aikido, but as someone smaller I like to hope so :).

Russell Davis
07-05-2010, 07:20 PM
just read your post, my teacher Mr Coyle about 8th dan I think last time we met and trained together was about 5' 6'' and 120lbs not to mention his senior years, was fast, fluid and full of beans even when training with one of his dan grades who was 6'+ 250lbs
the only question I have is do you know what its like to get hit by a guy twice your size and/or weight? reality check!
We all come in different shapes and sizes, Aikido that works for you might not work for someone else, I would suggest that you stay the same, dont put on extra muscle because you will lose it as you get older and so you will have to re adapt your Aikido.
by staying as your genetic make up has designed you, what you learn now will never need to be adapted in your later years but hey thats just my opinion. Im no expert.