View Full Version : Is it appropriate for me to train?

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05-27-2003, 11:06 PM
This may classify as the most ridiculous question ever asked here, but hopefully I'll get enough opinions to figure out what to do.

I would like to start Aikido training tomorrow. I've been to my local dojo and was warmly welcomed by Sensei and a senior member of the club. But I am about 80lbs overweight and 1) don't know if the other students will be offended by my lack of physical conditioning, and 2) I'm not sure I can fall and get up the seemingly 100's of times I'm gonna have to to keep up with the class.

I started investigating Aikido as a way to get fit that would keep me motivated and interested, but now that I have seen a class I'm worried about going and being the numbskull that can't keep up. Sensei reassured me and said that it is natural to train at my own pace, but I guess I'm still worried that I may not be as gracefully welcomed by the other students.

Any thoughts, comments?

Lan Powers
05-27-2003, 11:21 PM

Your teachers statements are absolutely correct.

All of us learn at different rates, your pace is not really an issue for the other students. For instance, they take hi falls.... you do rolls, till the hi-falls feel right.

The sensei seems to be aware of your reservations, and will/should work to make the learning process as smooth as possible for all of the class. You too.

As long as the class isn't in a "holding pattern" while you are working on a technique for an innordinant amount of time, then they should be supportive of you learning. ( My class has been very patient as I struggled with the basics.Hell! I am still struggling with them.)

Just do it if you really want to.


05-28-2003, 12:10 AM
Dear Friend:

Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba once said "If you can walk , you can make Aikido".

Do not think about training in Aikido , just train.

Best of luck

Plus Ki!.

Edited to keep it short :).

05-28-2003, 12:26 AM
Dear Anony

Just 80 lbs? That is a non-issue. One of my best students exceeded that easily when he started - he is slowly loosing it. I know a few others in the ballpark that once they got used to the exercise are having a ball.

Hope you don't mind me taking your post a little further.

Many overweight people use their weight as an excuse not to exercise creating as you might realize already, a vicious circle. I admire anyone who, other people's opinions be dammed, decides to do something about it. I'm pretty sure it took you years to put on the weight so don't expect it to come peeling off but Aikido (or any other exercise) is a lot more effective than diet (also important) in the long run.

As for your potential teachers and classmates, there is a lot of satisfaction in seeing their fellows improve both physically and technically. You will contribute to the dojo.

Last bit of advice. Push it a little but not too much. Listen to your body when it says to back off a bit.

Kelly Allen
05-28-2003, 04:08 AM
Talk to Daniel Mills (I think) he has just started Aikido and he says hes pushin 300lbs. From the posts he's making he's haveing a riot.

Greg Jennings
05-28-2003, 05:41 AM
Dude! Jump in there and have a good time.

If you get winded, take a seat till you get it back.

Here are two tricks that are normally told to students testing that might help some:

1. Practice slowly and smoothly. Remember to breath.

2. Put the final pins on very slowly. Relax and breath while you're doing it.

And most importantly, remember to have fun!

Write back and let us know how things are going.


05-28-2003, 06:52 AM
Yeah, what everyone else said. I'm at 330, and I train with everyone else and can do what everyone else does. I get winded more quickly than some of my skinnier classmates, but time (nearly four years now) and experience have show me how I can use my size to advantage.

The key thing to understand is that skinny people have their own physical challenges when learning aikido. We have the whole range of body types in my dojo. There are a couple of people who can't weigh more than 120 or so. There's one guy who works out a lot and has a pretty muscular frame. There's me, the big guy, and a couple of guys in between.

They (we) all struggle with learning aikido! We are also all learning it pretty well. I've noticed that the smaller guys in my dojo have a hard time, at first anyway, being stable and projecting strongly -- something we big guys find easier to do.

Anyway, don't worry about it.


-Drew Ames

05-28-2003, 08:25 AM

If you're ever really getting bummed about your size when practicing Aikido; I have the perfect inspiration for you: Sensei George Simcox.

Sadly; he passed away in 2000 (I think), but was superbly skilled, greatly respected and loved; particularly at his hometown Virginia Ki Society. He liked to say he 'had the largest one-point in North America'. :D LOL

Anyway; don't worry 'bout your size; no-one else will, :) just practice and have fun.

Ron Tisdale
05-28-2003, 09:09 AM

330? I wouldn't have thought it! about 300 pounds of muscle huh? Drew is a perfect example of a big guy who moves pretty darn well.

Ron Tisdale

05-28-2003, 09:16 AM
Thanks, Ron. :)

Ellis actually underestimated my weight by about 80 lbs!

I look forward to training with you again. I'm heading to an AAA seminar in September somewhere in New York. Have you thought about going?


-Drew Ames

Ron Tisdale
05-28-2003, 09:29 AM
No, I've got a pretty busy schedule as it is. I'll be in new york in june, at a small dojo opened by the brother of one of my training partners. July is our seminar with John Stevens, September is the aiki-expo, october is Ikeda Sensei at Utada Sensei's Doshinkan dojo...you get the idea. Hey, any chance you, Keith and the guys can make it down for Stevens Sensei?


05-28-2003, 11:04 AM

Drop me a note: jxa127@fast.net

We've hijacked this thread enough. :)

To the original poster: train to the best of your ability and you'll find that that's good enough.


-Drew Ames

J. David Geurkink
05-28-2003, 03:15 PM

As a new aikido student and lifelong widebody, I can tell you that your size makes a difference only as long as you let it. It took me years to work up the guts to try aikido, and I daily kick myself for not starting sooner. I don't know if this is universal, but in my case I am:

1)losing weight

2)gaining coordination (I think :))

3)gaining energy (the more I do aikido, the more I want to do aikido)

Bottom line, your sensei is right, don't worry about what other people might think. Train, have fun, invest in ibuprofen.

My 2 cents.


05-28-2003, 05:29 PM
Unless you have a contagious disease I dont think anyone will it is unappropriate for you to train.

05-29-2003, 08:34 AM
Hi Guys,

First I want to say thanks for the encouragement, not sure I would've gone without it. But I did, and you were all right, it was totally fine. Nobody laughed at me or heckled me off the mat or anything! Everyone was very gracious and welcoming. Not that I didn't feel foolish and awkward and confused the whole time, <g>. I was also dismayed to discover exactly how graceless (I'm a girl) I can be, just picture a fish flopping around on the floor, LOL.

I was surprised by how ingrained my 'sense of humor to the rescue' defense mechanism is .... I kept catching myself thinking things like 'I've gotta tell mom and dad to buy stock in Tiger Balm', 'I've never been groped by this many guys in one night before', and midway through the class I discovered that my most fervent wish in life is to learn how to fall. I guess it served to keep me going, but hopefully my focus will improve.

Seriously though, I did better than I expected to, and am looking forward to Mondays class. (hopefully I'll be able to walk by then again!)

Thanks again guys, I really appreciate it,



Kevin Masters
05-29-2003, 09:37 AM
Foolish, awkward, confused.

Sounds about right. :-) That's my Aikido trifecta.

Good for you!


05-29-2003, 11:17 PM
Congratulations on going for it. I used to be overweight until I started martial arts too. Hang in there. It's hard in the beginning but after about a month you'll notice your energy start to go through the roof.

Lan Powers
05-30-2003, 09:31 PM
Cool Carrie.........too muvh fun isn't it?

:) Lan

Greg Jennings
05-31-2003, 09:47 AM
Keep training. Try to commit to 3 months no matter what. This because a lot of people seem to drop out around 2 months.