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iain wilson 10-14-2008 09:12 PM

Hello, my name is iain. I've never posted here before, but I thought this'd be a good way to get involved; this is one of my most challenging obstacles in training.

I smoke.

Do you?
Did you?
Do you train with someone who does?

I don't want to say too much, to keep the conversation as open as possible, but I'm very curious about other people's experiences with smoking and Aikido.

I'm just a beginner, but I hope to be a non-smoker by the time I'm shodan! I believe Aikido should lead to cleaner, healthier living, but for the time being, I'm a half-a-pack-or-so-a-day smoker.


iain wilson 10-14-2008 09:58 PM

Re: Smoking
by the way:

I just read a thread from a few years ago about smoking, and it got pretty negative! Let's please be kind here, before things get nasty!

roman naly 10-15-2008 02:00 AM

Re: Smoking
I used to smoke - 8yrs ago. When I would run out of juice my instructor would make me do suwari waza ikkyo until I regained my breath.
Once I gave up smoking my training and stamina gradually improved.
Yes, not smoking did make a hell of a difference to my training.

Mark Uttech 10-15-2008 02:55 AM

Re: Smoking
Onegaishimasu. My experience with smoking and aikido is that
1. I quit smoking
2. I've noticed that people either quit smoking or they quit aikido
3. Focusing on aikido can help you quit smoking
4. Focusing on smoking can help you quit aikido

In gassho,


Patrick O'Regan 10-15-2008 03:25 AM

Re: Smoking
Hi Iain
All the best with giving up. Remember the more times you try the more you learn, the better your chances of success.

I stopped smoking about twelve years ago and started boxing. When tempted I would think of what my next opponent was doing smoking or skipping. I would end up skipping.

Some senior aikido people smoke or used to so aikido and smoking are not incompatible. Having said that everything including aikido is better without the ciggies.

SeiserL 10-15-2008 05:25 AM

Re: Smoking
IMHO, with the lack of any research that suggest any positive benefits from smoking, you already know its bad for you, and bad for your training, making it bad for other's training (that you train with), especially because as you sweat you smell like an ash tray.

Laurel Seacord 10-15-2008 08:46 AM

Re: Smoking
I wonder, is aikido the only martial art in which it is good manners to brush your teeth before practice?

phitruong 10-15-2008 09:16 AM

Re: Smoking

Laurel Seacord wrote: (Post 218123)
I wonder, is aikido the only martial art in which it is good manners to brush your teeth before practice?

we suppose to brush our teeth? darn! here i thought my kokyu power was pretty good. :)

whenever i smelled smoke on a person, i just throw them harder and faster. i know, i am evil and working on it. ;)

Charles Hill 10-15-2008 05:22 PM

Re: Smoking
Many if not most senior Japanese shihan smoke/smoked. I remember years ago, in a certain shihan's class, a pack of cigs fell out of the folds of his gi in the middle of a technique. This shihan would give us hourly breaks while testing so we could "rest." He would then run outside to get a nicotine fix.


Keith Larman 10-16-2008 11:36 AM

Re: Smoking
The extent to which I care if someone else smokes in an aikido setting is directly proprotional to how much they are offensive to be around and whether they have the poor manners to cough or blow smoke in my face. Or with an experience I had with a close friend, how much pain and suffering they caused their family and friends through their premature painful death. A waste to be sure, but it was her call. She was a grownup.

Of course another good friend of mine was killed by riding his motorcycle too fast. Passed a vehicle on the right and slammed into the disabled garbage truck. Stupid. And incredibly painful for his family and friends to deal with the death of a 20-year-old. Another waste of life.

And on a third, well, her suicide was devasting to everyone around her. It was incredible in retrospect how far and wide the ripples of that extended.

But we all make decisions in our lives. I wish more people would consider their responsibility for their own actions in terms of the effects on friends and family.

But... in the end it is up to you. Whatever floats your boat. That's your monkey, not mine... As a point of human decency and having lived through losing people to cancer, well, I'd encourage you not to smoke. But... I enjoy a nice martini now and then. I eat too much junk. I'm a bit overweight (working on it). I don't get enough sleep. So glass house and stones and all that...

Keith Larman 10-16-2008 11:38 AM

Re: Smoking
And fwiw, years ago I did smoke. Watching a close friend waste away and die of both emphysema and cancer was enough of an encouragement for me to stop. Cold turkey. A small switch went off in my head and it simply became something I couldn't do anymore. Too much pain. Not so much hers (although that was terrible). It was everyone else's around her. And my own at losing her.

Not easy to do. It took years for me to feel I was free of it.

Eric Webber 10-17-2008 07:09 AM

Re: Smoking
Hi Iain, I'll answer your posted questions first before weighing in my opinion.
1. No
2. Yes
3. Occasionally

I quit smoking cigarettes several months before begining aikido, but continued to smoke cigars, at times casually, at times habitually and regularly. Over time I found that the cigar smoking was interfering with my ability to train as hard and as long as I expected and wanted. I made a decision to stop smoking cigars regularly, I now keep it to a minimum (at most one a week in the summer months.)

Reality - nicotine dependence is a tough monkey to shake. If you're serious about quitting and are having withdrawal symptoms, I recommend seeing your doctor for nicotine replacement therapy and start working a chemical dependency recovery program until you are solid in your non-smoking status. After 13 years I still, on rare occasions, have cravings for a cigarette. It's a tough addiction to break, but it can be done. Best of luck in your efforts to make changes in your life.

I get to Baltimore occasionally, hope to see you on the mat sometime, or come to AWR when Charlie Sensei comes up this Dec.

Mark Uttech 10-17-2008 11:14 AM

Re: Smoking
Onegaishimasu. My experience is that it basically takes ten years to actually free yourself from a nicotine habit. After ten years, you can be around someone who smokes but it won't set off your own cravings and withdrawal symptoms. I quit smoking more than 30 years ago. I am not trying to discourage you, I'd just like to point out that it is a tough nut to crack.

In gassho,


Luc X Saroufim 10-17-2008 05:25 PM

Re: Smoking
i still smoke, but a few years back i quit for 5 months.

the difference in aikido training is simply phenominal.

Noah Stacy 10-19-2008 09:17 PM

Re: Smoking
It's not impossible, but it's certainly suboptimal. I fell off the wagon this summer, the result of a night of drinking and a bit of good old fashioned stupidity. We've all got a bit! This fall, I resumed aikido practice after a few years away (not smoking related!) and am currently doing both. Kicking the cigs is hard--it takes a special sort of mental discipline, in my experience. The trick isn't willpower, exactly; it's not thinking about it. Once you start thinking about a cigarette, you're done.

Anyway, the point is: Don't let smoking keep you away from aikido. Let aikido, hopefully, take you away from smoking.


AnniN 10-20-2008 06:40 AM

Re: Smoking
I think whether or not I mind training with smokers depends on how much they smell...Luckily, not many people in our dojo smoke. One of my instructors has smoked like a chimney for at least the past 20-30 years or so and it doesn't seem to prevent him from doing aikido... however, I'm sure that if he quit he'd do better. But I suppose he enjoys it too much :p Anyway, good luck with quitting! No more black lungs.. :)

James Edwards 10-20-2008 01:01 PM

Re: Smoking
Well no one should smoke anyway. I don't think anyone in our dojo does.

But Chiba sensei smokes. I guess he's from the older generation where it is very acceptable to smoke. Gozo Shioda smoked too.

eric_lecaptain 10-22-2008 01:46 PM

Re: Smoking
i used to smoke regularly when i was younger but quit for several years. although i must admit, on occasion, i will smoke one if i am drinking now. i have also noticed if i practice after having smoked the previous weekend, i sweat a lot more than normal and get tiried faster. i think it would be best to never smoke at all (just think of the money you'll save!)

wideawakedreamer 10-23-2008 08:30 PM

Re: Smoking
I used to smoke and I'm glad I quit - I have more stamina now.

Amadeus 10-23-2008 11:58 PM

Re: Smoking
Discrimination seem to become a bigger disadvantage than the health issues for people who smoke nowdays.

They don't really smell bad, it's just a cultural opinion. Horse crap won't stink if you work with horses, but Madam Goreché from Paris find it disgusting. Joe farmer on the other hand wouldn't even stand the polluted air the fancy lady is breathing daily.:confused:

You might find the aroma of a smoker disturbing since you are not used to it, but alienating the person for it will bring you to "the dark side".evileyes

For the OP:
It's your life, you are the only person in the world who would ever know how to live it to the best. Enjoy it whatever you do and don't.

oisin bourke 10-24-2008 07:17 AM

Re: Smoking
I used to smoke, but I stopped about 18 months after starting Aikido. I had tried a couple of times previously, but I never lasted.

After starting Aikido, I realized bodily sensations such as nicotine cravings were temporary and the training helped me cope with physical discomfort.

Even if I had gotten no other benefit from Aikido, gaining the ability to deal with nicotine addiction has more than justified Aikido's ability to effect postive change (to me anyway).


Harm-ony 11-01-2008 12:45 PM

Re: Smoking
I smoke...
and still smoking.... :)
treat it as a 'kokyu' practice.... :)

smoking is a bad habit... it will be better if not smoking...

Peace and Love, :ai:

lbb 11-02-2008 07:44 AM

Re: Smoking

Tarjei Amadeus Høydahl wrote: (Post 218535)
Discrimination seem to become a bigger disadvantage than the health issues for people who smoke nowdays.

For sure, being told that you can't light up in a restaurant is a much bigger disadvantage than dying before your time...or passing on diseases to your children. Secondhand smoke is the most likely reason I have rheumatoid arthritis; I'm not a fan of the practice. "Discrimination"? Your right to swing your fist ends where other people's noses begin, it's as simple as that.

Voitokas 11-02-2008 02:01 PM

Re: Smoking
But surely the question wasn't whether it's okay to smoke in the dojo?

Mannix Moya 11-03-2008 02:09 AM

Re: Smoking
I smoked for 24 year. I set a quit date last May 15, right after my surgery for obstructive sleep apnea. I've been smoke free since. I now find the after smoke odor offensive, so it kinda reminds how other people felt when I was smoking.

On aikido practice - My stamina significantly improved

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