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Old 06-25-2010, 09:43 PM   #18
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 950
Re: Does one's size or weight affect one's Aikido?

David Orange wrote: View Post
This may have been true for average Japanese, but it was never true for martial artists or the samurai.

Again, maybe for workaday folks, but martial artists were fighters and were very oriented to strength and muscle. They trained fanatically for a high level of fitness and it often literally meant survival or death for them.

This, too, is a misundertanding. It's true that the sumo were extremely fat, but martial artists (samurai) were seldom fat. Highly trained and obsessive with exercise, they were not commonly obese.

I know you are a very intelligent person, I am not going to assume what you're saying is that the samurai had a concept of western exercise and fitness programs, likened to that in the USA say around 1900. I think if I had written out a blog and did it in a formal academic construction there wouldn't have a been a misunderstanding. I stated the above only for clarification purposes so we can discuss this topic without such hinderances.
I was making a broad state as it is too difficult with a result of more confusion to flesh out all the different periods in Japanese history. I generally believe as I stated in my original post, that the Japanese where not into the idea of a structured physical fitness and health (diet) program as Westerners where such as the Germans prior to and into WII. I do agree training, though I am not sure how fanatical it was throughout samurai history it was. I see a clear marker and example (of several) being Judo as a point in time where training was more organized and structured, and such, more then ever before. Hence my purpose for pointing out Rajio Taisō.

I think you've misunderstood this very badly. OSensei ate a very simple diet and exercised constantly. He was powerful--not fat.

I may have, though my point was that Sumo fighters are not looked as weak, rather very strong and powerful. That model of large is looked as power is reflected upon O'Sensei. How many great Martial artists in their biographies mention they where weak, small and sickly kids who where put into martial arts to strengthen them. Of course this is a frequent device. In terms of O'Sensei's case being described as large it shows how he was a powerful and strong man. The obsession we have of with size and weight i.e. the "ideal" weight and size, and BMI was not a consideration. What was focused on was the larger the person, as seen in Sumo, the more power a person was, beside other things. I think what I read was saying O'Sensei when he was say at his peaked age was large with equated to strong and powerful. There was sketch of O'Sensei and how the author of the article perceived O'Sensei. That was much larger then what he actually was. That is what I getting at.

Per the Samurai I don't think all where six packed sinewed zero body fat muscle bound athletes like Mishima. Nor do I believe he represented the samurai of past. Rather the new movement who wanted to revive the romanticized ideal, where Mishima took from and possibly retooled that ideal of a samurai based on Hagakure. Here could be the fallacy so many of us subscribe too. The . thinness or fatness of anyone samurai was based on the Japanese diet for centuries centered around fish and rice food stuffs. And the availability of limited portions in the diet. Thus the control of rice fields in feudal Japanese and alike was critical. Thus, my understanding via classes and books, that many daimyos at certain points in Japanese history hoarded food stuffs and samurai ate well. And they didn't obsessively train 24/7, or have exercise and diet programs to keep the weight down. I could be wrong but that is what I am putting on the table.

This relates to Aikido in the sense that we have a variety of models both concrete and speculative and that this idea of perfect thin fitness is more of Mishima's generation than that of the past. Hence being fat like in Sumo shouldn't effect a person's Aikido. What effects are many other pressing things. That is fat people still can do Aikido, and if their health, as a thin, person is good they can still do Aikido effectively. This is my view. I have seen people thin and it effect their Aikido, and I have seen obese people (by recent re-classifications of lowering the BMI to denote obesity) effect their Aikido. But, that isn't a major factor to success or failure.

Dave thanks for your comments it is always good to have feedback and other people's thoughts. This I think enhances the thread and provides those individuals thinking or concern about this topic a viable resource.
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