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Old 06-26-2010, 12:11 AM   #19
David Orange
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Re: Does one's size or weight affect one's Aikido?

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
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.
It seems you mean "fitness for fitness' sake". In fact, they did have something like that, but not in the Western sense. And the samurai were not acting from so casual a base, but were concerned with total expulsion of weakness from the body and mind. And the whole culture was obsessed with "work" to avoid the serious shame of "being lazy." But the samurai in particular were concerned not with "fitness for fitness' sake" but with fitness as a competitive struggle against every other man one might meet, for the vital edge for survival's sake. So, no, they weren't doing exercises based on the appearance of the body or things like that, but for life-and-death edge, for physical power and because their view of the world includes the body as a shrine for divine power.

Still, Jigoro Kano was heavily influenced in the late 1800s by Western thought and he developed judo and promoted it in the school systems as a form of both mental and physical fitness. So, if anything, the Japanese approach has always been a step ahead of (or beyond) Western "exercise".

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
...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.
No, as a society in whole, they were not. But the martial artists among them were. And many people who were not martial artists but spiritual ascetitcs also pursued harsh physical discipline as a form of spiritual forging--not as a "physical" fitness regime but as a way for the spirit to overcome the natural decadent tendencies of the body. Rajio taiku was Western-sourced and Western-reasoned. Martial arts always had their own extreme conditioning and their own rationale for how that was done--for survival and spiritual polishing.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
I do agree training, though I am not sure how fanatical it was throughout samurai history it was.
Of course, in the Edo period the austere training fell from its former place and many samurai grew soft. Likewise, older guys with position and security could get more and better food and didn't have to work as hard and a lot of them did become fat. And there were also naturally big-boned men who appeared stout and even fat, but who could still be extremely powerful. And there were those who did become fat, soft and lazy. But they did so at peril from the tough men below them as well as from their own deterioration through all kinds of over-indulgence.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
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.
That was for the popular consumption, however, and really not related at all to martial arts.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
I think you've misunderstood this very badly. OSensei ate a very simple diet and exercised constantly. He was powerful--not fat.
They say he was built like a fireplug and was completely solid--though entirely relaxed. Read back in Aikido Journal articles where they describe him living on rice, fish and pickles--and not much of those. He lived an austere life by choice and inclination. He enjoyed living that way and didn't like the feeling of living otherwise.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
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.
But he was really a tiny man: just very powerfully developed. He was small but tremendously sturdy. Compare that to Gozo Shioda, who was similarly small but very skinny and never thick. Kyoichi Murai of the yoseikan was even tinier than that, but very similar to Shioda in the ability to project intense, serious power.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
...The obsession we have of with size and weight i.e. the "ideal" weight and size, and BMI was not a consideration.
That is correct but the Japanese martial artist seldom relied on weight or associated it with power in and of itself. Look at Yoshio Sugino, one of the tiniest men ever, who quit judo because they created weight classes. He believed that every judo man should fight all comers, regardless of weight, and he excelled in judo before he devoted himself entirely to aikido and katori shinto ryu kenjutsu. Men like that were certainly not concerned with BMI, but they carried no extra fat on their bodies.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
What was focused on was the larger the person, as seen in Sumo, the more power a person was, beside other things.
Again, look at Shioda handling huge men and laughing. And go to Aikido Journal and read up on Yoshio Sugino. Many of the most revered and awesome martial artists were unusually tiny men. Sokaku Takeda, for instance. He was nowhere near the build of Ueshiba, but he controlled the biggest and strongest men in Japan--such as the sumo tori Tenryu.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
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.
As in any power position, the one with the gold makes the rules, and the daimyo and their top men could eat and overeat, but the men below them had to fight for what they got. But you are right that some samurai were fat. But they also overindulged in other ways and were not ascetic warriors but bureaucrats over warriors.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
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.
Well you're right that "keeping the weight down" was not their motivation. For serious samurai, hard physical training was their way. Their motivations were spiritual development and combat survival--or combat supremacy. Survival was less important to them than killing the enemy. But all this was based in a belief that the body is the shrine of divinity, to be strengthened, guarded and constantly groomed as a tribute to divinity. And this is where modern aikido with overly fat teachers becomes very bad aikido even if the outer appearance of the technique is seemingly "correct".

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
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.
Let's see...Morihei Ueshiba, Gozo Shioda, Minoru Mochizuki, in aikido. Add in Koichi Tohei and Morhiro Saito.

Sokaku Takeda, Yukiyoshi Sagawa, Kodo Horikawa in aikijujutsu.

Where are the fat guys?

Those are our models for aikido. Those are the models for aikido. Mostly rather thin and anyway very fit and not fat.

Of course, if you get down to master Bobby Thomas or Leroy Green, far departed from the models above, if you want to make those guys your models, then there's no telling what you're going to be modeling.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Hence being fat like in Sumo shouldn't effect a person's Aikido.
But what we think of as "fat" is far removed from the power of a "fat" sumo tori and I've yet to meet a "fat" aikido man who approached that kind of power or fitness.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

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