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Old 06-05-2002, 11:52 AM   #22
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,200
Originally posted by REK
Despite being a weightlifter for ten years before starting Aikido, I want to second the recommendation that Erik H. gave. I have done all the Stew Smith SEAL programs. I can assure you that weight training would have been redundant if you can make it through those programs. I think I should point out that the two trainings (PT versus free weights) prepare your muscles in different ways. Although I maxed out at over 600 pushups, I doubt my benchpress was impressive.
You are a better man than I. Those are serious workouts.

I think the reason why so many discourage "muscle building" in Aikido is because there is a tendency for people not to give equal thoughtfulness to stretching/flexibility/relaxation. The power and/or explosive contractions of weight training don't translate well into ki no nagare techniques. Not all people are like this, of course. But many people in my dojo (myself included) have failed to create a good balance b/n strength building and relaxed flexibility, making their movements jerky, positioning stiff and joints virtually immobile. I believe the combination can be done correctly, but I don't personally know how.
One of the reasons I liked and included the NBA book is that basketball is a sport that requires touch and they include weight training. My understanding is that they deal with it by having a complete program. So while a professional level program will include weight training 3 times a week they probably spend the remaining 75 to 90 percent of their time on other aspects (plyometrics, running, shooting drills, etc). I suspect that what happens with us is that we show up to class 3 times a week, lift weights 3 times a week, and wind up with a 50/50 ratio or worse. Plus, I'm not sure how good a stretching program most of us have. I know I tend to slack on it.

I'll also contend that if you had asked a professional athlete 30 years ago about weights and their use you would have heard a lot of the same answers you hear in the Aikido community. Today, everyone from bowlers and golfers to football (the not round kind of ball) players use weights.
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