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Kponds
05-23-2002, 12:52 AM
Hello everyone.

This is my first post, so I would like to take a minute to introduce myself. My name is Kevin Ponds, I am a 19 year-old Computer Information Systems major, and I live in Memphis, TN, USA. My hobbies include computers and philosophy (quite a combo eh?).

I am interested in taking up a martial art. I am not exactly sure why I am, It just allures me, maybe because it's something I've never done before, and a path to better myself which I haven't explored. I want to learn something for the journey and oddessy of learning it, not for the end result.

I am not interested in fighting. I am not interested in being like Jet Li(though I do love his movies =p). I am not interested in self-defense. I am not interested in competition. I do not want to have to worry about preforming to someone's expectations. I do not want to have an "opponent." I am not interested in learning how to beat someone up, or getting beaten up. I am much more interested in besting myself, than besting others.

I am leaning toward Aikido. I really like the principles of it, and what I've read of O Sensei.

We have what seems like a pretty good Aikido Club here in Memphis ( Though I've never been, what I've read about them on their site seems promising ).

The one problem is, I am not in peak physical shape. I am not unhealthy, but I am overweight. I do not want to be thought of as, "the guy thats too fat to do Aikido." What I am wondering from you experienced Aikdokas( did I say that right? ), is are there many overweight or not exactly peak shape people that work out at your dojo's.

Is there any literature that could be reccomended to a newbie like me? I do not expect to learn Aikido from a book, but I would like to learn about Aikido, just so I have some knowledge of the subject(like what all these words mean). I don't think an Aikido manual would be very helpful, I want to "learn" Aikido from a real person. I am more interested in things like, biographies of O Sensei, writings on the spirituality of Aikido, and whatnot.


Thank you for your time!


Kevin Ponds
"I was in darkness, but I took three steps and found myself in paradise. The first step was a good thought, the second, a good word; and the third, a good deed." --Friedrich Nietzsche

shihonage
05-23-2002, 01:02 AM
1) No, being overweight does not disqualify you in any way from practicing Aikido.

2) www.aikidofaq.com is an excellent online source of Aikido related information.

Also, "Aikido and the Dynamic sphere" book is one of the most often recommended ones.
I bought it a while ago. It has the most excellent drawings, but reading the text, frankly, bores me to all hell.

The best way to learn is to attend the classes.

Chris Wells
05-23-2002, 01:05 AM
Hi Kevin,

I am a newbie to Aikido and from the knowlege that i have gained i would suggest you joining a class and give it a try. Most classes give you a weeks sit in to see if you like it. If you go and see you like it that will be great, but if you dont like it you really didnt lose anything.

I wouldnt worry to much about the over weight thing because training will fix that with no problem. Im sure the sensies dont expect everyone that walks in their class to be in top physical shape.


When you were discribing what you wanted to train it sounded like Tai Chi.

erikmenzel
05-23-2002, 01:13 AM
Hi Kevin,

well it sounds if you have the right interests for aikido.

About the overweight: It is kind of hard (and even dangerous) for us to advise you on this. Overweight can mean so much varying from having a pot belly but still being comfortable in moving around to massive weight excess and having direct and immedeate problems due to that.
If you dont know whether it would be good for you to start immedately then go and see a sportsdoctor and have him/her advise you!

About people being mean towards fat people: Most aikidoka I know are nice, friendly and respectfull people that will have no problems with you. However, as in the real (real as in outside the dojo) world, not all aikidoka are like that.
It can depend on the dojo.

As for being to fat to learn aikido: Aikido is not about the goal, it is about the journey. At our club we have people that are to stiff or to talentless to become very highskilled aikidoka quickly. They enjoy training and we enjoy training with them (And most of them are with our club already long enough to have reached a high level, it is just that some people learn quick and others dont!)

Hope this helps

Simone
05-23-2002, 01:16 AM
Hi Kevin!

Welcome here!!!!

So you don't know whether you and Aikido fit together? Then try it. Otherwise you'll never know. And give Aikido enough time. I personally think at least three to four month....

It doesn't matter why you start Aikido. the reason you do Aikido will change over time. For me now it's not the same than when I started. But keep in mind that others started Aikido from different reasons. Maybe there are some people who mainly want to learn how to defend themselves....

We have one guy training who's 1.7 meters and 110 kg, and he's not really in peak shape. That does't matter, at least where I train. At the beginning you don't need physical fitness. The need will come and you will gain fitness. Don't worry. Your instructor shurely will help you with all problems, also if your weight causes problems.

One of the important things, at least for me, is that you like the instructor(s), the people and the atmosphere in the dojo! So try!

As for the recommendation of a book: I think there's no need for one. You will learn all the words in your training sessions, so don't worrry about that. And, as you are a beginner, nobody expects you to have knowledge of Aikido. A good biography is "Abundant Peace" by John Stevens. But you can also search Amazon, for example.....

So have a lot of fun with Aikido,

Simone

Jim ashby
05-23-2002, 03:12 AM
Being overweight is not a problem. I'm 5'10" and 105Kg. Read and translate the signoff, it says it all.
Have fun.

ChrisDuSCAMB
05-23-2002, 06:51 AM
Hi Kevin,

Welcome !!!! :p

I think that the Aikido responds perfectly with your expectations. When I searched a martial art, for my choice I had the same criteria as you (no competition, no opponent, and so on ...). In Aikido, I find all of that.

Your health and your overweight is not a problem for the Aikido pratice. In Aikido, you practice at your own rythm. You learn to know your body limits and manage them.
In my dojo, there are overweight people, and they practice very well, they perform their rolls as well as anybody else. Your partners and sensei, will help you to manage your health and weight problems, don't worry about that.

The main goal, is to be enjoy in your dojo and Aikido practice.
Have fun.

regards

;)

guest1234
05-23-2002, 07:42 AM
Hi, and welcome! I think you will really enjoy Aikido. Don't worry about fitting in, my current dojo has more than one overweight person (several actually)... Aikido is for everyone. If you are significantly overweight, or haven't done any sort of physical activity, I'd suggest checking with your doctor to make sure he wouldn't restrict any particular things: as you can see from many threads on this site, a lot of folks complain about their knees. Significantly overweight folks already have knee compromise due to the excess loading on those knees and may be more prone to injury while working out...and even though you are 19, I have assisted in a 4 vessel bypass on a 23 year old (one who actually was in excellent physical condition, just poor diet and genetics). Have a great time, tell us how your first class went.:)

Wayne
05-23-2002, 08:35 AM
Hi Kevin,
Welcome to the forum. I don't have anything to add about the overweight concerns. There have been other recent threads asking about book suggestions. Take a look.

Wayne

Greg Jennings
05-23-2002, 08:36 AM
Hi Kevin,

Two things:

1. Listen to Colleen. She's a medical doctor who actively practices aikido. She is familiar with both sides of the equation you're trying to solve.

2. In Memphis, I can recommend the club that now trains at Rhodes College a.k.a. the Aikido Society of Memphis (ASOM). Their instructor back when I visited and who still oversees them, is Jim Baker. Jim is absolutely amazing...and I'm not easily impressed much less amazed.

I don't know anything about the other club there; the one that's affiliated with the Aikido Association of America. I do know about that association and it's just as legitimate as the United States Aikido Federation (USAF) that ASOM is affiliated with.

Jim posts regularly to the Aikido-L e-mail list. You can read about it at http://www.aikido-l.org/ . I'd recommend speaking directly with Jim.

Jim's e-mail address is jimbaker6@yahoo.com . Just tell him that I referred you directly to him.

There used to be a group in Memphis headed by a flat-out fraud. I'm pretty sure all his students ended up somewhere else when he left town in the middle of the night. But still, caveat emptor. Jim will know the latest on that situation.

Best Regards,

Bruce Baker
05-23-2002, 08:40 AM
There is no way to candy coat a workout ... you will have to think, move, and try your best to keep up. The neat thing about Aikido is that the stress to keep up is at your own level of fitness. So long as you are not trying to please the rest of the class or the instructor ... just youself ... then you will progress to higher levels.

If you are thinking like a skinny guy when you do a technique, be gentle ... being wider myself I sometimes forget that my mass and movement is twice what the skinny guys is ... you don't want to break anyone.

The majority of the first years classes will be the most difficult, as unused muscles are toned and used in ways not always found in everyday chores, but then if you incorporate the stretches, and make an attempt to stretch during the week, classes will be much easier.

I know your level of commitment will be to how much you want out of Aikido, but this ain't boot camp or special forces training, it is moving, turning, getting out of the way, and learning how to balance/unbalance ... Aikido.

Sure there is a lot more to be had, and connections to many other martial arts in form, technique, and practice, but you are not gonna know what it is about without trying it for a month or so.

I would, if I were you, get some knee supports until your knees get used to many of the knee bending exercises and techniques. I still keep my supports in my bag even though I haven't needed them for a couple of years now.

Also, if you don't already have a good diet, add more fruits and vegetables to it, it will make a difference in your energy level.

As everyone else has pointed out ... go ... try it. It really gets to be a lot of fun as practice becomes familiar.

Ali B
05-23-2002, 09:11 AM
;) Hi Kevin, welcome. My advice is to go for it. I was a bit overweight when I started, as was my friend, who gave up after 6 months. I am still practicing and although I know that aikido is not for everyone, I am still surprised when people tell me they donīt like it.

From a personal point of veiw, if you are interested in personal growth, then it can be valuable. As you seem to have gathered it is not the end of the journey.

When I had been practicing for three weeks the son of my Sensei, who was also very experienced joked with me that I would be addicted and never be home. My husband would divorce me and I would never see my kids.

If you look at my posting from yesterday (not practicing), you will see he is right. Iīm absolutely hooked:D

I hope that it brings you as much happiness as it does me(and all the other addicts) If not, I hope you find what your looking for.

Love and light,
Ali

batemanb
05-24-2002, 03:07 AM
Originally posted by Jim ashby
Being overweight is not a problem. I'm 5'10" and 105Kg. Read and translate the signoff, it says it all.
Have fun.

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus

vir N 2 3 NOM S M
vir N 2 3 VOC S M
vir, viri N M
man; husband; hero; person of courage, honor, and nobility;

obes.us ADJ 1 1 NOM S M POS
obesus, obesa, obesum ADJ
fat, stout, plump;

stol.a N 1 1 NOM S F
stol.a N 1 1 ABL S F
stola, stolae N F
stola, a Roman matron's outer garment;
*
saept.us VPAR 3 4 NOM S M PERF PASSIVE PPL
saepio, saepire, saepsi, saeptus V TRANS
surround/envelop/enfold/encircle; clothe/cover/protect; close/seal off; shut i
hedge/fence in, surround (w/hedge/wall/fence/barrier/troops); enclose; confine

Hey Jim,

does that mean that you are a fat man wearing a nurses uniform? :D

Jim ashby
05-24-2002, 07:09 AM
Close. I got my translation from a Latin speakers website. I asked for the nearest translation to "fat bloke in a skirt". Probably I do Aikido like I'm wearing a nurses uniform, and I don't think we should go into the whole Rocky Horror Show photo album. I was young and foolish.
Have fun.

thomson
05-24-2002, 08:09 AM
"fat bloke in a skirt"

LOL :D

I've been trying to figure out Jim's signature since I started in the forums. That is *too* funny.

Anyhow, Kevin, you've probably got all the advice you need, but if it helps I'm yet another "fat bloke" (haven't earned the skirt yet :p ) I'm 5'8" and 280 lbs (about 46% body fat). I'm enjoying akido very much. I think you'll find you have a definite advantage doing rolls, as something (or someone) that is round rolls better than a stick! ;) No offense to skinny people. :rolleyes:

Later,
Mike :D

SeiserL
05-24-2002, 09:56 AM
Greetings and welcome,

May I suggest you go to your local library and read everything you can for free on Aikido. It may help you understand that Aikido is based on some very sound principles that do not necessarily rquire you be in any perticular shape. Aikido is goo exercise to help you get in shape. Sigh up and show up.

Oh BTW, I am both old (51) and big (6'4", 215 lbs.). I have many people who purposely want to hone their technique on the "big guy".

Welocme to origami with people and learning to blend and become one with the mat.

Until again,

Lynn
Nidan Tenshinkai Aikido
Lucaylucay Kali JKD

Misogi-no-Gyo
05-24-2002, 11:03 AM
Originally posted by Kponds
I want to learn something for the journey and odyssey of learning it, not for the end result.

I am not interested in fighting. I am not interested in being like Jet Li (though I do love his movies =p). I am not interested in self-defense. I am not interested in competition. I do not want to have to worry about performing to someone's expectations. I do not want to have an "opponent." I am not interested in learning how to beat someone up, or getting beaten up. I am much more interested in besting myself, than besting others.

Hi Kevin,

Good post. I have quite a few students who are "big" guys. I find training with them to be a very satisfying experience. I wanted to take a moment and present the "other" side to you because I noticed that all the replies in this thread were positive. That's not a bad thing, but balance is always good. Please take my post with a grain of salt, as it is just to provide discussion as to other alternatives.

What I noticed in reading your post, as quoted above, you seem very clear about what it is that you are not interested in. That is a good start. If I may suggest, although this may seem a bit obvious, "Aikido is a martial art." Given that you are not interested in "self-defense," "competition," "performing to someone's expectations," "opponents," or "learning how to beat someone up," have you had the chance to consider that if you choose to get involved in martial arts, that you may be dealing with many people who are interested in those things. Further, that those things may in fact be a valid part of "martial arts," and for those who are interested in those aspects, will be the intent with which they train. Not being interested in those things yourself, are you prepared to work hand in hand with these individuals and understand that their reason for training is as valid as your own?

Perhaps more importantly, there is also the aspect that you will need to be able to nurture these things within yourself, if not merely to understand it, then to be ready for it when you come face to face with it, both in the dojo, and on the street.

There is a quote that some people on this very board use as their sign-off. It speaks about being a "pacifist." It basically says that in order to truly be a pacifist, that you need to be prepared to fully wage war upon another before you can "choose" not to. This is one part of the essence of budo.

If you are not prepared to occupy your time with many whose philosophy may seem opposite to your own, perhaps as an alternative you may find that Yoga is more to your liking. One of the nice things about some of the yoga/ashrams is that there is an emphasis on proper diet, one that I am sure would help you in your quest of both personal development, and getting into shape. After all, Aikido will always be there for you should you opt to embrace all its many wonderful facets.

I am interested in your thoughts, Kevin. Of course, other's thoughts as well.

batemanb
05-24-2002, 05:15 PM
Originally posted by Jim ashby
Close. I got my translation from a Latin speakers website. I asked for the nearest translation to "fat bloke in a skirt".

I was just playing with words. The website that I got the translation from mentioned matrons clothing, I figured skirt but thought nurses uniform sounded funnier:D, hey, it was Friday afternoon and I was bored.

Jim ashby
05-25-2002, 09:19 AM
As soon as I hear or read the word "matron" the late great Kenneth Williams immediately springs to mind. "Oooooh Matron!!". Sorry to all those who don't recognise the carry on reference.
Have fun.

batemanb
05-25-2002, 06:25 PM
Jim,

I still can`t remember your face, but now I`ve now got this image of you doing Aiki looking like Hatty Jakes.

:D :D :D :D :D :D

Kponds
05-29-2002, 01:05 AM
Thanks guys, think im gonna give it a shot.

Kponds
05-29-2002, 01:14 AM
What I noticed in reading your post, as quoted above, you seem very clear about what it is that you are not interested in. That is a good start. If I may suggest, although this may seem a bit obvious, "Aikido is a martial art." Given that you are not interested in "self-defense," "competition," "performing to someone's expectations," "opponents," or "learning how to beat someone up," have you had the chance to consider that if you choose to get involved in martial arts, that you may be dealing with many people who are interested in those things. Further, that those things may in fact be a valid part of "martial arts," and for those who are interested in those aspects, will be the intent with which they train. Not being interested in those things yourself, are you prepared to work hand in hand with these individuals and understand that their reason for training is as valid as your own?


I guess I overdramatized what I meant, what I mean is, im not interested in becoming a "badass". I dont want to learn aikido so that I can go in bars and knock people to the floor. I mentioned the bit about not liking competition because I want to do it for myself, and not live up to someone elses standards.

Simone
05-29-2002, 01:34 AM
Hi Kevin!

Some time passed since you started this tread. Did you actually start Aikido? Do you like it? As someone mentioned in an other tread: Aikido has enough potential to addict you!

None of the Aikidoka I know is a "badass". The ones who started for learning how to effectively beat up people stopped before shodan level. Most some month after starting. Nevertheless many are there who want to learn effective self defence. And, as Shaun mentioned, your partner will then train with this mind.

You never can do it for yourself, Aikido is there in the moment you get in contact with your partner. So even training with the mind that you train for your sake even with a partner on your side is not Aikido (at least in my sense, I don't want to offend anyone).

If you want to make "progress" in Aikido, measured in Kyu/Dan grades, you will have to live up to other peoples standards, but that can be O.K., for me it is. Because the time doesn't matter. I'm from the slower kind. Who cares?

So what I think about you and Aikido is still the same than in my previous post: try it for a few month and enjoy it. Then decide what to do. You then can still try Yoga or Tai Chi....

Hope to hear from you soon,

Simone

Bronson
05-29-2002, 02:35 AM
There is a quote that some people on this very board use as their sign-off.


"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."

Yukiyoshi Takamura

The fact is, although your individual needs and shortcomings may seem very important to you, they are not really all that special. Chances are, if you can walk into a dojo under your own power, you are in good enough shape to begin training there. Of course, your asthma or your myopia or lack of flexibility may be a problem. But if you had the opportunity to ask her, you would probably discover that the woman practicing beside you is dealing with chronic arthritis. The man on the other side has a left hip that has a sleight congenital deformity, and the girl behing you suffers from chronic bronchitis. And it's very likely that they all began their training by thinking their problems were as special as yours.
Dave Lowry, Moving Toward Stillness

Have fun, train in earnest and the rest will work itself out.

:D Bronson

Kponds
05-29-2002, 02:57 AM
Simone,

Some time passed since you started this tread. Did you actually start Aikido? Do you like it? As someone mentioned in an other tread: Aikido has enough potential to addict you!

I havent started yet as I have alot of vacationing with my family this summer, I am going to wait till the fall when I have a less hectic schedule and can go to every class. I am really excited about it though!



None of the Aikidoka I know is a "badass". The ones who started for learning how to effectively beat up people stopped before shodan level.

Which is EXACTLY what attracts me to Aikido so much. I want to learn martial arts, but I dont want it to be all about that. That's why I didn't choose something like karate or kickboxing.

You never can do it for yourself, Aikido is there in the moment you get in contact with your partner. So even training with the mind that you train for your sake even with a partner on your side is not Aikido (at least in my sense, I don't want to offend anyone).

What I meant was, I want to practice Aikido to enjoy it for myself, I don't want to do it to win some tournament, or to exert my power over another. I just want to do it to learn it. Yes I understand that I will have a partner, I don't mind that. I just want to practice for myself, and not to become "better" than someone else.

If you want to make "progress" in Aikido, measured in Kyu/Dan grades, you will have to live up to other peoples standards, but that can be O.K., for me it is. Because the time doesn't matter. I'm from the slower kind. Who cares?

Well, as I understand(I'm still a newbie on the subject), all Aikido students(Is that what Kyu means?) wear white belts and all Aikido masters(Dan I would guess) wear black belts. So there is no belt order other than those two, like you dont have multicolor belts like in karate(I read some Aikido dojos use multicolored belts, but the one in Memphis, which is what I'll be attending, doesnt).

Thanks alot for all your valuable information, I really appreciate all the help :).

Robert Mazurek
06-05-2002, 12:21 PM
Kevin : Before taking any martial arts classes of any kind- you should first determine if your physically capable of handling higher heart rates without putting undue stress on the heart.

- Go for a physical checkup to check Cholesterol,blood pressure,and ask for a stress test..to measure your hearts capablities to perform under exursion.

- Being overweight is really not that much of an obstacle ... look at martial arts great ... Samo Hung. He has been overweight his whole life..but is a martial arts master,coming from the Peking opera school-with long-time friend Jackie Chan, Samo
has made a name for himself in America with his TV series "martial law".

- Do not let physical appearances fool you or discourage you - nor do I hope you feel embarrassed by it,... how you view yourself should be more important to you than how you think others may view you.

- You will find over a short time - you may lose weight anyway- depending on how much you are willing to work out/train.

- You have the right mental attitude to be a very good student, and potentially excellent martial artist.

- after getting a check-up to ensure your safety, try it out for a week to see if it's for you or not !

- Good Luck !! :D