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vanstretch
12-19-2003, 01:32 PM
Hi all, one of my teachers just got back from testing in japan and noticed the following at honbu dojo; many old-timer,high level dans where outside puffin away on cigarettes. these guys were just throwing like crazy for several hours inside and appeared to be some very in-shape seasoned vets, yet now were out on a "smoke break"! I just think the visual is funny. It made me think of the album cover to "Heaven and Hell" by Black Sabbath. any thoughts people?

Qatana
12-19-2003, 01:40 PM
You should see what Intermission backstage at the ballet is like!

Janet Rosen
12-19-2003, 01:51 PM
It used to be like that in the USA. When I was a teenager, my dentist would give me the novocaine shot, then we'd light up and smoke while waiting for it to take effect (circa 1972). Then when I got out of nursing school, there was one hospital where nurses still smoked in the hall at the medication cart, and in almost all the hospitals we smoked in the clean utility rooms (kitchens) during breaks (circa 1980).

Ron Tisdale
12-19-2003, 02:04 PM
I have a very bad habit...I smoke. There is nothing more enjoyable than training hard for a day, then going outside for a nice smoke (ok, slight exageration). I'm always amazed at some of the company I have outside for those smokes. But I'm not as good at aikido as any of those folks. :(

Ron

Nacho_mx
12-19-2003, 02:04 PM
In Tokyo, I noticed many japanese were heavy smokers and drinkers (of beer, liquor or coffee). General stress may have to do with it.

aikidoc
12-19-2003, 02:39 PM
There is no medically known benefit to smoking.

My first exposure to a shihan smoking was in California-this 8th dan (prefer to not name names) put on an impressive seminar and then went out and had a cigarette. It kind of blew my awe of him and his discipline. I have a personal bias here in that my dad died of lung cancer at age 46. My last was a seminar in El Paso TX where the shihan seemed more interested in having long smoke breaks than teaching a seminar-I was very disappointed. What he taught was good but I found he took several breaks just to smoke (and the breaks were extended so he could smoke more). This is not very harmonious with the body. It also cuts 10 years off the life of these instructors who could better use it to continue making a contribution by teaching aikido-given they are the last who directly studied under O'Sensei. Just MHO.

Ron Tisdale
12-19-2003, 02:49 PM
No arguement...its a stinky habit and it sucks. The instructors I know never short change their students for their habit...sorry to hear that one did.

It is strange how humans can be sooo disciplined in one area, and so addicted in another. I strongly recommend that anyone who does not smoke, does not start. One day I'm going to lick this nasty habit.

Hey, Gozo Shioda chain smoked! I'll never figure that one out.

Ron

Erik
12-19-2003, 02:52 PM
Bob Nadeau will break during class for a smoke.

Suru
12-19-2003, 09:52 PM
Despite what American society throws on me, smoking just isn't that bad. I made it my New Years' resolution for the coming year 1998 to START smoking. I thought that was funny. Maybe it wasn't because I became addicted. I also became addicted to caffeine which is no better. The only difference is that other people think they are going to die if they inhale a bit of second hand smoke. This just isn't the case. A smoker brings about no danger for those around him. Someone who tends bar at a smoky place his whole life might have a problem, but not aikidoka catching a whiff of smoke at a seminar. There's nothing wrong with an aikidoka, a sensei, or any other human being smoking a cigarette. Yes, if we smoke too much, we'll probably die of lung cancer. This is a problem the smoker is confronted with, not the non-smoker.

Drew

aikidoc
12-19-2003, 10:19 PM
"Despite what American society throws on me, smoking just isn't that bad."

Wow are you brain washed or trying to convince yourself. Sorry but even Phillip Morris has a website on the dangers of smoking. One cigarette maybe but a habit of it (addiction as you put it) is slow suicide. Read the literature-none of it is good. I had a patient one time tell me she was getting a check up due to some bladder problems. I encouraged her to follow through and gave her the lecture on how it could cause bladder cancer-she came back a few months later with a lot of body parts missing-she had bladder cancer that had metastasized. I felt bad for my lecture even though it was accurate.

"...other people think they are going to die if they inhale a bit of second hand smoke. This just isn't the case. A smoker brings about no danger for those around him."

This is simply inaccurate. Read the literature. A little smoke maybe but being around a spouse or someone else smoking-like a parent causes problems. Children of smokers frequenty have problems with allergies and asthma. Studies don't give second hand smoke any cleaner a bill of health.

"There's nothing wrong with an aikidoka, a sensei, or any other human being smoking a cigarette. Yes, if we smoke too much, we'll probably die of lung cancer. This is a problem the smoker is confronted with, not the non-smoker."

Legally wrong no you are right. We all have the right to pursue whatever self destructive behavior we choose in life. Does that make it right? Probably not an argument I'd win-individual freedom and all-so I won't go there. Harmless though is a different issue. Find me one study showing smoking is not harmful. The government compiles studies on a regular basis-I forget the name of the books-which are voluminous. None I ran across when I used to get them showed any benefit to smoking. Sorry but you sound like someone who is trying to justify his mistake in becoming addicted. Yes, caffeine is bad too.

If you ever watch someone die of lung cancer (like I did my father), you'll change your perspective-especially if it is someone close to you. There is nothing pretty about watching them spit up pieces of their lung tissue and essentially suffocate. The pain can also be so unbearable that they don't even get mujch relief from opiate type drugs-especially when it metastasizes.

I lost a very nice patient to cancer which developed from smoking. She had not smoked in 30 years. She had lung cancer that metastasized to her liver and then both hips and when discovered it killed her in very short order.

If you want to see your kids or grand kids, if you have them, grow up, quit while you can. Yes, there is the rare individual that can smoke and never get cancer (a few years back a French woman lived to 122 and had quit smoking at 100 so it didn't become a habit-rare individual, she might have lived to 132 if she had not smoked). If you don't die first of heart disease, emphysema or circulatory problems, it will usually get you.

Sorry for the lecture but your statements were blatantly inaccurate.

Michael Young
12-19-2003, 11:01 PM
Just some food for thought before we jump to judgements on the habits and failings of others.

Unfortunately we lost a high ranking Uchi Deshi of O'Sensei a few years back, due to cancer that spread through his body. He was a lifelong smoker, and the smoking probably was a big contributor to his illness. He was relatively young and I still morn his loss. This Shihan was of a different generation, when smokers weren't considered piriahs, both here and in Japan, and it was socially acceptable if not even socially desirable. In Japan of today there is still less of a stigma than here in the states about smokers. This particular Shihan was a soldier in WWII and was in training to be a Kamikaze pilot, when the war ended 2 weeks before he was to fly his mission! (I'm not making this up...he related the story himself). I can only imagine the stresses this remarkable man had to go through in his life. After the war, despite or maybe more because of his dissillustionment, he searched for something to dedicate his life to, and found Aikido. After training for years under O'Sensei and advancing to instructor level he was the first Shihan dispatched to mainland America to teach...can you imagine that? Sent to the very land of the "enemy" he was taught to hate from a child, to teach them, without even being able to understand the language? Can you imaging the depth of spirit and commitment to O'Sensei and Aikido that such an action would take? Uprooted from home, family, and familiarity, to go to the very country of the men he was taught to destroy with his very life just a few years earlier. When he came to this country, he started a federation that eventually grew to over a hundred dojos. Despite the many students he had throughout the United States he tested every single one of them himself for every kyu and black belt level, such was his commitment to his students: not because he didn't trust his senior instructors to administer testing but, in his own words, he wanted to get to know each and every one of his students (again, desptite the many hundreds of them). Besides teaching full time at his home dojo, he spent almost every weekend away from his family travelling all over the country to teach to his various dojo and students. Truly remarkable, and an inspiration for what Aikido can do for the human spirit. I'm sure smoking was something he started as a very young man in the midst of a country at war, with the very knowledge that his life was forfeit...why would the health risks of smoking even be a consideration in such a situation? Then came a lifetime of incredible changes and stresses that most of us will never experience...I think I can forgive him the "character flaw" of his habit...even while it may have shortened his life and took away from the "extra decade of teaching" he would have selflessly given us. I think he earned his small pleasure. The few it may have offended or put off, was made up for a thousandfold by the many he selflessly and courageously gave to throughout his life, and the legacy of spirit he left.

Sincerely,

Mike

aikidoc
12-19-2003, 11:52 PM
I'm not passing judgment-those are self issues that if one choses to pursue it's their problem. However, the statment that smoking is not causing any real harm to others is innacurate. To take it a step further, I realize the cultural and health orientations of different times and areas made smoking appealing-even sexy. Those choices, however, do impact others-it deprives those who love us of our presence and places emotional and physical hardships on those exposed to the ravages of the destructive elements of smoking. I know also it is a hard addiction to break and many never do. With today's knowledge of its detriments, it wouldn't be approved for human consumption if introduced as a new product.

Again, I'm not judging the decisions of other to take that path -but it does sadden me to see people chose a such a destruction path when it ultimately deprives them of a healthy life and others of their presence.

Try visiting someone you love and whom you know is dying of cancer tell you they know you are there to help them die. And then watch them die a very horrible death. It is gut wrenching to say the least.

aikidoc
12-19-2003, 11:55 PM
PS. if I'm right about the shihan you are referring to it has almost resulted in the destruction of his organization-so his wonderful gift has been diminished and lost to other generations.

Suru
12-20-2003, 01:04 AM
"Wow are you brain washed or trying to convince yourself."

Maybe you're trying to convince yourself that by not smoking you're not going to die.

"One cigarette maybe but a habit of it (addiction as you put it) is slow suicide."

Being born is slow suicide.

"Find me one study showing smoking is not harmful."

Of course it's harmful. Don't insult me.

"If you ever watch someone die of lung cancer (like I did my father), you'll change your perspective-especially if it is someone close to you. There is nothing pretty about watching them spit up pieces of their lung tissue and essentially suffocate. The pain can also be so unbearable that they don't even get mujch relief from opiate type drugs-especially when it metastasizes."

Both my grandfathers died of lung cancer. I know they had painful deaths. Should I spend my whole life looking forward to a pleasant death?

"Sorry for the lecture but your statements were blatantly inaccurate."

If you were sorry about the lecture you wouldn't have given it to me.

Drew

Michael Young
12-20-2003, 01:08 AM
Mr. Riggs,

I'm sorry for your loss. I hope my post didn't cause pain to you... I'm very fortunate to have a father who did smoke, but gave it up over 25 years ago, and he is still with me. I'm thankful he gave it up, and lucky to still have him. You're probably right that if cigarettes were introduce today, they wouldn't be approved for consumption. I didn't mean my post to be an endorsement of cigarette smoking, but I am not adamantly against smoking...it is a part of our world, and it isn't something we are going to force people into quitting...nor do I think we should (I know that your post did not advocate this, but there are plenty of people who do). More people die in this country from heart disease and complications caused by diabetes and obesity...maybe the government should start regulating our diets? (rhetorical question) I work in the emergency medicine field, and I make far more obese patients with heart problems and diabetic problems than I do breathing problems with smoking involved. Smoking related disease is far less of an epidemic than the statistic mongers want to brainwash everybody into believing (when the statistics for smoking related deaths are given they always include deaths due to heart disease, despite the fact that most heart disease deaths are not due to smoking) Does any of this make smoking healthy? No. But then niether is driving your car too fast, imbibing too much alchohol, overeating, undereating, malnurishment, sexual promiscuity, and a whole other list of preventable self-destructive behaviors. People are gonna do 'em despite common sense. I do applaud the fact that more education about the dangers of smoking is available, and I'm sure the great majority of people know it is an unhealthy and dangerous behavior...if they deny it, its more out of a sense of anti-establishment rebeliousness or some other motivation. I don't smoke cigarettes, but I do smoke the occasional cigar...and damn they're good! I know there is evidence that I have increased my chance of cancer...I don't believe it is as high as some of the so-called studies would have us believe, but I won't deny the risk. I try to strike a balance between my vices (I drink and play the occasional round of poker with the boys) and good habits (family, Aikido, work, diet[notice the order :)])...I think a life devoid of some guilty pleasure wouldn't be for me, and I'm thankful I live in a country that allows it to be so. That's my two cents...and I'll give it to you that your two cents is just as valid, thanks for for the food for thought (I'll try not to overeat;))

As far as the Shihan is concerned...Yes, you know who I am speaking of. I specifically haven't mentioned who because of the problems after his death with the organization, and I don't want to stir up a hornet's nest. I have my opinions about why that happened...just let me say it wasn't due to his smoking or his death, it has more to do with human egos and weakness (I guess you could draw some parrallel between smoking and human weakness if we want to make a stretch) As far as his legacy though...I think that lives in his sincere student's hearts and minds from the things passed on to them...its unfortunate not all of them got the message, or misconstrued it. I wish he wouldn't have smoked, just like I wish his organization could have survived the aftermath of his death, but I don't think any of that besmeers his character one iota. He was still a great man (albeit a human one). I don't think anyone should fault him for his vice, and I'm thankful to have known him.

Regards,

Mike

aikidoc
12-20-2003, 07:01 AM
"Maybe you're trying to convince yourself that by not smoking you're not going to die.... Being born is slow suicide."

Drew, I have studied Buddhadharma some, I know and accept we are going to die. No one has made it out alive yet. However, there are better ways to go. We are exposed to enough toxins without doing it on purpose.

"One cigarette maybe but a habit of it (addiction as you put it) is slow suicide."

I'm not trying to insult you, you were the one saying it was not harmful.

"Both my grandfathers died of lung cancer. I know they had painful deaths. Should I spend my whole life looking forward to a pleasant death?"

Sorry about your grandparents. I hope you were not in the room to watch their last moments of suffering. Life according the the Buddha is about suffering but it is also about reality. The reality is death can be pleasant or unpleasant depending on one's

perspective. Death by lung cancer is never pleasant.

Mike, I agree obesity is a very serious problem, heart disease etc. Heart disease also is a factor of smoking. The rise in diabetes is alarming due to the promulgation of high carb dietary habits. It's an issue of over indulgence. As is any bad habit. I don't begrudge people the occasional vice-we all have them.

Thanks for your comment. My father died in 1976 so I have come to accept it. However, my kids and my siblings kids never got to meet a very good person. He got to see very few of his grandkids and none of his great grandkids. A sad aspect of enjoying something or being addicted to it.

Obviously, smoking is one of my biggest hot buttons.

I'm curious Drew-how old are you? We all die and could tomorrow for whatever reason-I accept that and know it for reality. we all have the right to chose our vices and I know a lot of Japanese shihans smoke-culture, etc. It just doesn't make it healthy or harmonious with the body. Just mho.

Don_Modesto
12-20-2003, 12:12 PM
I have a very bad habit...I smoke.I'm always amazed at some of the company I have outside for those smokes. But I'm not as good at aikido as any of those folks.
Intensive for Ron:

Smoke more.

Smoke cigars.

Chew 'baccie during training.

You'll catch up. Ganbatte!

Don
12-20-2003, 10:49 PM
Well, let's see. Drew's profile indicates his birthdate was in 1978. That makes him around 25. Says he started smoking in 1998; about 20. Sounds like a typical young male who thinks it'll never catch up to him. Fred Bilitnikof was a great receiver for the Oakland Raiders even though he puffed away, but man can you imagine what tackling him must have smelled like? Does the same hold true for aikidoka? Based on my experience, I'd say yep. It stinks.

Smoke as much as you want; turn your lungs black; wrinkle yourself up; stain your teeth. I don't care; its your body-just turn away from me if I ever have to do kokyu dosa with you!

Suru
12-21-2003, 02:10 AM
Well, let's see. Drew's profile indicates his birthdate was in 1978. That makes him around 25. Says he started smoking in 1998; about 20. Sounds like a typical young male who thinks it'll never catch up to him. Fred Bilitnikof was a great receiver for the Oakland Raiders even though he puffed away, but man can you imagine what tackling him must have smelled like? Does the same hold true for aikidoka? Based on my experience, I'd say yep. It stinks.

Smoke as much as you want; turn your lungs black; wrinkle yourself up; stain your teeth. I don't care; its your body-just turn away from me if I ever have to do kokyu dosa with you!
Your investigative work has proven somewhat accurate. However, I'm not one of those "young and invincible" types if that's what you think. Would you ask an Aikido shihan who smokes to turn away from you while doing kokyu dosa? Or would you respect him more than me? Anyone who can't handle the smell of smoke on someone's breath is a spoiled pretty boy who obviously hasn't endured much hardship in his life.

Drew

Chris Li
12-21-2003, 02:15 AM
My first exposure to a shihan smoking was in California-this 8th dan (prefer to not name names) put on an impressive seminar and then went out and had a cigarette. It kind of blew my awe of him and his discipline.
I wonder if he thought the same kind of thing about you when he saw you walking around the house with your shoes on :).

Best,

Chris

taras
12-21-2003, 10:31 AM
I recently had to write up a risk assessment for my dojo (something to do with health and safety legislation in the UK), where it literally says:

Members are informed about the general disgusting nature of the habit and warned of ingestion of pesticides, fertilisers, etc. because of smoking.

HOWEVER smoking members have a 10-minute cigarette break. The way I see it is I did not found the dojo, those people have been there longer, and to them it is sort of a tradition.

I used to smoke myself, but quit 3 years ago. I remember though how much harder it was to do a number of rolls after a smoke. Why would I want to make my training harder? Like Mr. Weider said, have you ever tried carrying a dumbbell with you all day for extra weight?

Still, everyone has habits. I once watched a program about Jamaican football team, and they had a smoke I half-time (I don't think it was tobacco though), and they were saying something about 'stress from da game' :) I thought that most aikidoka were into drinking. That doesn't do much good for your body either. I think everyone has bad habits, addictions etc, things to overcome. I am more concerned about my own training though.

Peter Goldsbury
12-21-2003, 04:55 PM
In Tokyo, I noticed many japanese were heavy smokers and drinkers (of beer, liquor or coffee). General stress may have to do with it.
Well, perhaps the stress is part of the picture, but I think alcohol consumption is very much ingrained in the culture here. Last week I attended a bonenkai with the local police chiefs and you would not believe the amounts they put away: beer, sake, shochu, and whisky (with water, in a combination called mizu-wari). Most of them smoked, also, and I would think they had at least similar levels of fitness to the average aikido shihan.

There is also a practice called iki-iki nomi, where beer or a concoction of alcohol is downed in one draft. This is a favourite pastime in university sports clubs. My own university severely frowns on the practice, but, as with the police, at university year end parties one can almost swim in the alcohol provided.

With smoking there has been a more pronounced change over the past few years. Hiroshima City now has a smoking ban in public places and in the university one may smoke only in one's own study. What is more, the rules are being obeyed far more. Japan has a curious attitude to laws, in that the mokuhyou (the aim behind the law) is seen to be of more importance than actual compliance with it. But smoking has now become a more private, even furtive, pastime.

And a surprising number of aikido shihans smoke and drinkĀ\and also believe that this has nothing to do with 'polishing the mirror'. The counterpart of the Puritan tradition here is much more forgiving.

Best wishes to all for Christmas and the New Year.

MikeE
12-21-2003, 07:57 PM
I can't speak to whether it is wrong or right, and personally I don't really care.

My only consideration is watching two of my nikyu perform randori and take ukemi for other tests. The one that smokes has infinitely less vascular stamina than the one that doesn't. They are more or less the same body shape and fitness level.

So, I guess my thoughts on smoking are negative in regards to aikido. (Although I do enjoy the occasional beer waza :))

aikidoc
12-21-2003, 09:20 PM
Chris:

"wonder if he thought the same kind of thing about you when he saw you walking around the house with your shoes on"

You assume I wear shoes at home. I live in the South (although I'm a yankee).

Even if I do wear shoes at home, he'd never see it. It's a smoke free environment. Culture vs. bad habits-don't see the connection.

Chris Li
12-22-2003, 01:27 AM
Chris:

"wonder if he thought the same kind of thing about you when he saw you walking around the house with your shoes on"

You assume I wear shoes at home. I live in the South (although I'm a yankee).

Even if I do wear shoes at home, he'd never see it. It's a smoke free environment. Culture vs. bad habits-don't see the connection.
The connection is that many Japanese would see wearing shoes in the house as a filthy habit. You see shoes as a "cultural" habit - odds are that he views smoking in much the same way.

Also, whether or not you wear shoes and whether or not he smokes (as long as it is not around you, and you did state in the original post that he "went out" to have a smoke) really has nothing to do with either one of your Aikido.

I wonder if you're as harsh on Aikido instructors who eat fried foods, since heart disease is by far a more common cause of death in the US than tobacco related disease...

Best,

Chris

aikidoc
12-22-2003, 04:19 PM
I agree there are cultural issues although I don't think smoking can be considered a cultural behavior-although there seems to be more smoking in some countries than others and in some states than in others.

This instructor by the way really did not leave the building before lighting up he just walked to the corner of the gymnasium and lit up.

I agree the dietary habits are horrendous in our country at least-however, recent studies are suggesting it is more of a problem with refined carbs (sugar/flour) than it is with fats. Although anything in excess can be problematic. People with poor diets can change their eating habits and lose weight and lower cholesterol. Damage to the dna and cells in the lungs is generally more permanent.

I'm sure most who will argue with me on this issue are smokers. Drew you're young quit before it becomes impossible to do so. Early on the damage is more reversible. If you don't smoke don't start-it's not cool anymore.

Don't become one of the pathetically addicted people on a respirator that goes on a 20 minute coughing jag and then pulls off the oxygen mask to light another (wonderful fire hazard).

Although personal choices and probably a lot to do with when they grew up and the social climate in that era, I wish more of our shihans would do aikido with their bodies as well and get away from the cigarettes. It would be a wonderful role model for those following in their footsteps.

vanstretch
12-22-2003, 04:50 PM
hey guys, just thought I might chime in since I started this mess. didn't mean to cause a riff between john and others, I know there are strong feelings here due to personal experiences so maybe venting it out and blowin'some steam is the best, and thats cool. I just saw Bill Cosby interviewed on Larry King Live and he was saying that at funerals for people who have died of the lung cancer,he has noticed packs of people outside smoking(Mourners!) and when you wake up at the hospital for some obesity related or health related matter, what do they feed you? cake and sugary snacks- why? its simple-people are stupid. the end.

Don
12-22-2003, 04:52 PM
Your investigative work has proven somewhat accurate. However, I'm not one of those "young and invincible" types if that's what you think. Would you ask an Aikido shihan who smokes to turn away from you while doing kokyu dosa? Or would you respect him more than me? Anyone who can't handle the smell of smoke on someone's breath is a spoiled pretty boy who obviously hasn't endured much hardship in his life.

Drew
Having grown up in a house of smokers, I only appreciated the unappealing smell after I left for college. So, for me it is a matter of personal preference. I have had the pleasure of practicing with a great number of people over the years and you just take what your get if its one-time encounter (such as a shihan who smokes asking you to do kokyu dosa). However, if you were a member of my dojo, I would of course work with you, but if would not be one of my preferred experiences, and one that I would limit.

And, if you aren't young and invincible (and we know you are young), that would make you, what, young and vulnerable? Let's see, realizes he is young, but vulnerable to the well acknowledged hazards of smoking, but continues to do so anyway...How does one characterize such behavior...?

Oh, and by the way, grasshopper, I have lived almost twice your young life, as have many of the others who have counseled you on the hazards of smoking. Try to to consider them friendly warnings before you end up dead. But, hey, its your body and your life.

Chris Li
12-22-2003, 07:15 PM
Although personal choices and probably a lot to do with when they grew up and the social climate in that era, I wish more of our shihans would do aikido with their bodies as well and get away from the cigarettes. It would be a wonderful role model for those following in their footsteps.
Sometime I forget how utopian the western mentality can be. All that I want from an instructor is a reasonably pleasent personality and the ability to teach me something that I didn't know before - everything else is gravy. I don't expect my instructors to be saints, and I'm not dissapointed when they're not.

Best,

Chris

aikidoc
12-22-2003, 07:56 PM
Chris: I guess I'm utopian and selfish-I expect some shugyo I guess-i.e., walking the talk of harmony-not just in part of the art but harmony with everything (including one's body). Oh well, I guess I'll just have to be disappointed since we are all human and have our weaknesses.

PeterR
12-22-2003, 08:52 PM
John;

Chris has a very good point about Western expectations - we tend to overlay our own ideals on others we look up to for different reasons. Personally I find that very unfair.

I would only add one more thing to Chris's expectations. A reasonable lack of hypocracy. As long as the weed puffing sensei doesn't lecture on the body as temple theme - no problem.

Jim23
12-27-2003, 06:42 PM
The connection is that many Japanese would see wearing shoes in the house as a filthy habit. You see shoes as a "cultural" habit - odds are that he views smoking in much the same way.

Also, whether or not you wear shoes and whether or not he smokes (as long as it is not around you, and you did state in the original post that he "went out" to have a smoke) really has nothing to do with either one of your Aikido.

I wonder if you're as harsh on Aikido instructors who eat fried foods, since heart disease is by far a more common cause of death in the US than tobacco related disease...

Best,

Chris
Personally, I think we should drink, smoke and be Mary (or Jane). And Aikido should only be used outside the dojo to improve one's relationships and life in general. If a silly disease comes along ... blend with it.

Jim23

Chris Li
12-27-2003, 09:56 PM
Personally, I think we should drink, smoke and be Mary (or Jane). And Aikido should only be used outside the dojo to improve one's relationships and life in general. If a silly disease comes along ... blend with it.

Jim23
Well that's it then - I really should have told the two of my loved ones who died in terrible pain from lung cancer brought on by smoking that they should be "blending" with their "silly" disease.

I just didn't feel that making judgements linking teaching ability to non-related personal habits was justified, that's all.

Best,

Chris

Jim23
12-28-2003, 08:52 AM
Well that's it then - I really should have told the two of my loved ones who died in terrible pain from lung cancer brought on by smoking that they should be "blending" with their "silly" disease.

I just didn't feel that making judgements linking teaching ability to non-related personal habits was justified, that's all.

Best,

Chris
Chris,

I think you missed my sarcasm. Smoking is wrong whether you are a teacher, student or anything in between. I should know, after smoking for many years - smoke-free for almost four years now.

I think a teacher's (or politician's, religious leader's, etc.) personal habits are pretty relevant.

Jim2

Don_Modesto
12-28-2003, 11:34 AM
Smoking is wrong....

I think a teacher's (or politician's, religious leader's, etc.) personal habits are pretty relevant.
Wrong...for hurting himself? So are keeping irregular hours, eating red meat, and watching the slop on prime time...wrong, too?

Wrong...for hurting others? I agree. But with all the sanctions in place--official-"smoke outside" and unofficial-restaurants forced by law to being non-smoking discovering their business INCREASING--that point is quickly becoming moot. I'm more often as offended by strong cologne or perfume as by smoke these days.

Personal habits. Hmm. This is tougher. There's always the SHOULD about it and there's the IS. Churchill was an alcoholic, Hitler, a tee-totaler to give one famous contrast. Whatever we thought of Clinton, I think we do and must compartmentalize (Henry Hyde, Helen Chenoweth, and Bob Livingston sure did.)

Jim23
12-28-2003, 12:05 PM
Personal habits. Hmm. This is tougher. There's always the SHOULD about it and there's the IS. Churchill was an alcoholic, Hitler, a tee-totaler to give one famous contrast. Whatever we thought of Clinton, I think we do and must compartmentalize (Henry Hyde, Helen Chenoweth, and Bob Livingston sure did.)
Right. I think we should look for those qualities in our leaders too - we all battle our vices, but lets not condone them.

Aikidoists always (sometimes) stress that aikido isn't really about the martial aspect, but about using it as a WAY in all areas of life. I just find that certain vices don't go well with certain professions (for lack of a better word - role models?), eg., athletes that smoke or drink, preachers that steal or sleep around (or drink and smoke), teachers that are abusive to students, financial advisors that have no money, dietitians that are overweight, etc.

Students usually look up to a teacher and try to follow their example.

Jim23

Jim23
12-28-2003, 01:13 PM
It is strange how humans can be sooo disciplined in one area, and so addicted in another. I strongly recommend that anyone who does not smoke, does not start. One day I'm going to lick this nasty habit.

Hey, Gozo Shioda chain smoked! I'll never figure that one out.

Ron
Hey Ron,

Who am I to tell anyone what to do with themselves, but ...

Don't do as I did (could there be a song here?) and smoke so much that it finally caught up with me. Over 20 years and up to two packs a day with no apparent health problems (I even moved my office to a city that allowed smoking in the workplace back then), until one day I woke up coughing so hard I couldn't catch my breath - this lasted for a few weeks until I quit. I HAD to stop smoking, as even one puff started the coughing again!

It was the toughest thing I ever did in my life and I've done some tough things (the patch helped a bit - took the edge off).

It's been almost four years now. I have no problem being around smokers and understand their addiction, but I will NEVER smoke again (if the cigarettes don't kill me, my wife will).

Jim23

Rich Stephens
12-28-2003, 01:43 PM
It's fine to have opinions on the behavior of your teachers, but when you start to make judgements about if a Japanese aikido sensei's behavior is correct for aikido or not, please stop and ask yourself whether it is right to do that through your modern western eyes. It may be better to simply say that you personally choose to not learn from a sensei who smokes (or otherwise behaves in a way you don't like), instead of declaring that there is something wrong with that sensei in regards to Aikido.

Anyway, sure, cancer sucks. Got my mother at 49 and my dad has it now. Neither smoked or worked around smokers and neither lived unhealthy lives. I've learned from such events not to consider death or how it might come - it will find me in the end regardless.

This is an interesting group here and I look forward to participating.

-Rich Stephens

Peter Goldsbury
12-28-2003, 09:25 PM
I think it is very hard to be judgmental about this, in the sense of making supposedly objective judgments about the effects of the life style of aikido shihans on their aikido.

Two 9th dan shihans I knew quite well both died of cancer. Seigo Yamaguchi smoked and I occasionally chatted with him during the break between classes at the Hombu. Right till the end I was able to take his ukemi. I suppose that if he hed never smoked, his aikido might have been yet more awesome than it actually was. I have no means of knowing.

Sadateru Arikawa died of cancer and I do not ever recall seeing him smoking, or drinking to excess. As he grew older he slowed down, but when you were on the end of one of his shiho-nages or multiple joint locks, this was not really so obvious.

Of course, I agree with the general proposition that smoking is bad for your health and I myself gave up the practice when I was a student. In Japan the obviousness of this propositionĀ\principle almostĀ\is less widely recognized than in the US, for example.

I ceased to regard aikido shihans as role models for life lived off the mat many years ago: the intellectual gymnastics required became increasingly pointless.

Of course, I have my own beliefs about how aikido training should affect my life in general, but can go no further than doing my best to ensure that I carry out these beliefs. I think this is a form of showing, in the way that a shihan is said to be a model. However, to generalize these beliefs is a further step, which I cannot take.

Happy New Year to All,

Edward
12-28-2003, 10:23 PM
My 2 cents.

Smoking is not always bad for you! I can think of many situations when smoking actually saved my a**. Being outspoken and somehow bad tempered, I could have lost my job at several occasions if I did react immediately to sollicitations and provocations, but after thinking matters over and a few cigarettes, I calm down and view things more strategically instead of emotionally. At other occasions, after receiving really bad news such as the death of close friends, smoking helped me go through these difficult periods.

Chain smoking is bad for you, as is alcoholism, or too much TV, or exercice, or even water. But a night out without drinks, or a nice meal without a complementary smoke, and you will be missing on some of the pleasures of life. Consumed in small amounts, cigarettes (and alcohol) could definitely have a beneficial effect, if not on your health, but at least on your general well-being and balance. Moderation is the key word.

Chris Li
12-28-2003, 11:38 PM
Chris,

I think you missed my sarcasm. Smoking is wrong whether you are a teacher, student or anything in between. I should know, after smoking for many years - smoke-free for almost four years now.
No, I got it - my point was that your sarcasm in this case is, IMO, inappropriate.
I think a teacher's (or politician's, religious leader's, etc.) personal habits are pretty relevant.

Jim2
1) Personal habits are certainly relevant - if they affect the activity in question (which they really don't in this case).

2) As I said earlier in the thread, part of my problem with the original statements was that they were made from the cultural point of view of an American, which is really no more fair than it would be to judge an American's activities by Japanese cultural standards.

Best,

Chris

Jorge Garcia
12-29-2003, 11:06 AM
I had an instructor who after catching a new student smoking outside our dojo, went on to try to help this teenager consider giving it up and he definitely encouraged him not to do it around the school. Then when our shihan came for a seminar, he was in the office smoking when the young man who had been corrected passed by and saw it. Needless to say he was stunned. He mentioned it to our instructor who had no response to that one and the young man was never seen again at our school.

My current shihan doesn't smoke but like many Japanese men, he does love to drink. I have observed that he never drinks in the daytime and never before a practice because O'Sensei said not to. At dinner, he will have a few beers and usually more after that but he carries his alcohol well and I have never noticed any after effects the next day, no matter how early the class is. He is always first on the mat.

On the other hand, I have heard many funny stories about a well known aikido teacher who has had many embarrassing and humiliating experiences in seminars the next morning due to the hangovers.

Best wishes,

Chris Li
12-29-2003, 12:00 PM
I had an instructor who after catching a new student smoking outside our dojo, went on to try to help this teenager consider giving it up and he definitely encouraged him not to do it around the school. Then when our shihan came for a seminar, he was in the office smoking when the young man who had been corrected passed by and saw it. Needless to say he was stunned. He mentioned it to our instructor who had no response to that one and the young man was never seen again at our school.
I would think that he ought to have said that the shihan was a man like anybody else, faults and all, not a perfect creation descended from heaven.

Now that I think about it, I seem to remember seeing pictures of Morihei Ueshiba smoking, wonder how many people will quit Aikido because of that...

Certainly most of the first generation students of M. Ueshiba were heavy smokers.

Best,

Chris

vanstretch
12-29-2003, 01:15 PM
hey chris, find that photo and post it. thanks. ahahahaha cough,cough, ahem. thanks.

Jim23
12-29-2003, 01:57 PM
I am dumbfounded by some of the posts here. We're approaching the year 2004 and with all we know today, people are saying that although cigarettes can kill you, it's still okay for "special" people to smoke, because of the fact that they are human.

I'm sure that back in Morihei Ueshiba's time, there were different views out there - now we know better regarding smoking.

If you want to worship or excuse senior aikidoists who smoke, that's your choice. But don't condone it because of their rank or try to convince others that it's okay - it's still a serious addiction and wrong.

Jim23

Chris Li
12-29-2003, 02:18 PM
I am dumbfounded by some of the posts here. We're approaching the year 2004 and with all we know today, people are saying that although cigarettes can kill you, it's still okay for "special" people to smoke, because of the fact that they are human.
I never said that it was "okay", I said that it was irrelevent to their ability to teach.

Would you say that someone is a poor teacher because they eat a lot of trans-fats, or because they don't wear their seatbelt?

Best,

Chris

Jim23
12-29-2003, 03:06 PM
First of all Chris, you are not the only person posting here, so don't take all my posts personally.

Regarding your questions: no, I wouldn't take health advice from a dietitian that was a trans-fat addict.

And, no, I wouldn't respect a driving instructor who didn't wear their seatbelt.

In my opinion, we should be thinking "Damn! ... is such a good teacher when it comes to technique, but he is using cigarettes to fill some void, he is killing himself and setting a bad example too!"

Sadly, I remember seeing "someone very senior" apologising constantly during a demonstration that he was fighting the flu. I also saw him constantly sneaking out of a back door for a quick puff in his dogi and hakama (moved Aikido up a notch there). I felt a little embarassed when I saw kids watching him sneaking around for a smoke.

And this thread is absurd.

Peace Chris, lets move on.

Jim23

Rich Stephens
12-30-2003, 12:43 AM
Jim, have you allowed for the possibility that such Sensei, especially those past a certain age and from Japan simply have a different concept of "health" than you do? A different concept of life and a different concept of death?

Jim23
12-30-2003, 10:14 AM
Of course I understand about cultural/age differences. But in this day and age I don't think anyone with a rational mind would consider smoking to be a healthy habit, even though some might try to justify it for different reasons, as with most serious addictions.

We're wasting time here discussing cigarettes - where's the nearest opium den?

Jim23

vanstretch
12-30-2003, 03:01 PM
amsterdam holland redlight zone! isn't smoking a deep breathing exercize? just stirrin it up a tinge. ehehehehehe.

Jim23
12-30-2003, 03:09 PM
Especially if you have one lung.

Jim23

Chris Li
12-30-2003, 03:44 PM
Of course I understand about cultural/age differences. But in this day and age I don't think anyone with a rational mind would consider smoking to be a healthy habit, even though some might try to justify it for different reasons, as with most serious addictions.
I don't think that anybody in Japan would call it a healthy habit. Still, although attitudes are slowly changing, I would say that smoking is considered as a more or less minor vice by the average Japanese.

In any case, I think that my original point, that it is unreasonable to castigate an instructor for a personal habit unrelated to the subject of instruction, still stands.

Best,

Chris

Jim23
12-30-2003, 04:17 PM
I really don't disagree with that statement, in spite of what I said before, and I do fully understand your argument.

I think it all boils down to our view of Aikido. Is it simply a fighting art? If it is, fine, argument accepted, case closed. But if it's more than that, shouldn't we also expect more from senior people than how to perform irimi-nage?

Jim23

Rich Stephens
12-30-2003, 10:44 PM
Sure, we expect more than perfect performance of waza. And yes, things like smoking and drinking when done to excess are linked by western medicing to having a shorter life. Of course despite massive tobacco and alcohol use, the incidence of cancer and heart disease in Japan is a mere fraction of western levels and they have the longest life expectancy on the planet so I can see why people there fail to get too worked up about the "health risks".

But overall, I guess I'm just not convinced that one of the things my Aikido sensei or the old masters should teach me is how to have the longest life possible. Therefore I don't make a quick and easy connection to smoking or drinking being in violation of their overall "lesson".

-Rich Stephens

PeterR
12-30-2003, 11:46 PM
Of course despite massive tobacco and alcohol use, the incidence of cancer and heart disease in Japan is a mere fraction of western levels
Be careful with statistics - it's not a mere fraction and it is rising. The link with heart disease and obesity is clear and that's why the US beats Japan. I'm not sure but lung cancer may be more prevalent in Japan but in any case the decrease in smoking in the States is relatively recent and cancer shows up years later. You can't look at current smoking rates and compare them with lung cancer deaths.

World Health Statistics - Death Rates

US Japan

Heart Disease 215.8 123

Cancer (all types) 143 125

Respitory Disease 51.6 49.1

Ueshiba M. and Tomiki K. both died of cancer and neither smoked or drank all that much. It must have been the Aikido.

Chris Li
12-31-2003, 01:22 AM
Ueshiba M. and Tomiki K. both died of cancer and neither smoked or drank all that much. It must have been the Aikido.
Do you know what kind? Last time that I looked into it stomach cancer outpaced lung cancer in Japan by around a three to one ratio, with the lung cancer rates being slightly lower than in the US.

Of course, it sometimes seems as if a disproportionately high number of Japanese die of cancer, but I think that much of that is because the rate of heart disease (which is the number one cause of death in the US) is so low.

Best,

Chris

PeterR
12-31-2003, 01:43 AM
Do you know what kind? Last time that I looked into it stomach cancer outpaced lung cancer in Japan by around a three to one ratio, with the lung cancer rates being slightly lower than in the US.
I understand Ueshiba M. had liver cancer.

Tomiki K. died of colon cancer.

It's probably all those pickles.

Heart disease is the biggy and probably (I'm reaching) the reason Japan has a longer average lifespan. Heart disease tends to make itself felt in the early 50s for men and a little later for women. I was once told that if you can survive to 60 you will probably live to beyond 80. Obesity and hence heart disease is less of a problem here although that too is changing.

Rich Stephens
12-31-2003, 02:07 AM
I reckon the longer you live, the more likely it'll be cancer that will get you. It used to be "natural causes" - now we have a name for most of them.

Anyway, any comments on the non-statistical issue: whether living in the way that western medicine tells us will possibly lead to the longest life is part of Aikido or not and should be expected of our sensei, Japanese or not?

PeterR
12-31-2003, 02:30 AM
Anyway, any comments on the non-statistical issue: whether living in the way that western medicine tells us will possibly lead to the longest life is part of Aikido or not and should be expected of our sensei, Japanese or not?
I think both Chris and I already gave our opinion on that. See above.

But look at it this way.

In comes near puritanical non-smoker and looks with disdain on his potential teacher and says "he can't be a true Aikido teacher because he smokes". If that's not a case of presumption (coming in with a full cup) I don't know what is.

If on the other hand a heavy smoker starts doing Aikido and feels that he has to cut back to keep up then this is an example of self developement which is what Budo is all about. Not the perfection of others - that is rife with ego. Your sensei is a guide not an ideal - no man is perfect.

I personally am drawn to teachers that can physically do good Aikido. If your heavy smoking prevents that then I wont be your student - but it would not be the smoking itselft that sends me out the door.

Jim23
12-31-2003, 10:09 AM
Just to make my opinion clear. I've trained under instructors (Aikido and other) that smoked, and I didn't quit their classes. But I do find it incongruous with principle that someone who claims to have found harmony in their life - or at the very least have become proficient in a physical "sport" - can't kick the addiction of cigarettes (or whatever).

Jim23

indomaresa
01-02-2004, 01:18 PM
I work where people smoke like multiple chimneys

This is seriously jeopardizing my goal of reaching 9th Dan

woe is meeeee

T_T

aikidoc
01-02-2004, 06:07 PM
I agree you need to be careful with statistics. Cigarette companies lied with statistics for years stating it was safe.

O'Sensei and many of the other Japanese may be suffering from the post war effects of radiation created when we atomic bombed them.

Liver cancer, etc. Stomach cancer could be from dietary sources or drinking. I know some of the uchideshi partied hard in the old days.

Chris Li
01-02-2004, 06:37 PM
O'Sensei and many of the other Japanese may be suffering from the post war effects of radiation created when we atomic bombed them.
Well, he was on the other side of the country at the time, so I don't think that it is all that likely. AFAIK there is no unusual cancer rate in Japan attributable to the atomic bomb outside of that for those people who were in the actual vicinity when the bombs were dropped. It is fairly well established that residual radiation levels fell very quickly.

Best,

Chris

Lyle Bogin
01-04-2004, 12:42 PM
A few years ago I was in Holland for the first All European Shaolin Martial Arts Competition. One of the younger "monks" invited me outside for some chi kung training (mediative breathing). He gave me a lecture about aborbing chi through the breath from my natural surroundings. When I half shut my eyes and started breathing, he lit a bootleg cig and offered me one.

Peter Malecek
01-04-2004, 04:36 PM
Back when I lived in Japan and trained at the Yoshinkan I remember that all of the Shihan smoked. We used to wonder if the real secret to aikido was buying the right brand of coffin nail.

Ghost Fox
01-05-2004, 08:15 AM
Although I agree that smoking is a terrible habit, I donít think itís fair to judge a teacher or anybody less ďspiritualĒ or ďenlightenĒ based upon the fact that they smoke. The truth is that life is a process, and you can only judge a persons development from one point in time to the next. I have trained with a Sensei that smokes, and he is 60+ years old and a great guy off and on the mat. Heís charming, inspirational, and always willing to share his experiences. He told the class that before he started aikido he had an extremely violent temperament due to the traumas of serving in the war and would go out at night and get drunk and smoke and get into all kinds of trouble. Aikido for him gave him the direction to turn his life around and provided him with a way to leave the violence of the war behind as well as his need to get drunk and into fights at bars. If you see him through a narrow reference frame he might seem hypocritical for smoking on one hand while teaching the value of Aikido and meditation on the other hand. But measured through out 25+ years of practice, Aikido has helped him develop as a human being and rid himself of many of his vices.

In ďmodernĒ society it seems easy to target people who smokes or are overweight, or have other forms of visually verifiable conditioning. I wonder if it derives from some sort of fear we have to look at ourselves honestly, and that these people are an uncomfortable reminders of the diseases that we all carry inside. I donít know it just seems that illnesses of the spirit are okay as long as we donít have to look at them as a society or maybe this is just my own disease.

:triangle: :circle: :square:

Jim23
01-07-2004, 06:15 PM
It's quite funny when you go away for a while and come back and see some of the posts here - fartenheimer.

Jim23

Neil Mick
01-07-2004, 06:32 PM
I do find it incongruous with principle that someone who claims to have found harmony in their life - or at the very least have become proficient in a physical "sport" - can't kick the addiction of cigarettes (or whatever).

Jim23
Judge not, lest ye be judged.

Jim23
01-07-2004, 09:08 PM
Okidoke. Rooight.

Reuben Lee
01-19-2004, 06:21 AM
Well , my stand isn't a moral one. Its for health reasons.

Smoking causes cancer. Why do somethin taht kills you ?

But having said that, I don't hate the smokers. Just concerned for their well being.

Besides, smoking dosen't improve your stamina. Bad for training