In my experience larger persons have to learn everything the very same way as others.
If somebody suffers from overweight he or she even has more diffiuculties to learn and to advance.
Especially the ukemi we do is not easy to do then.
Actually its a lot easier to be a ball when you are shaped like a ball. And being "well padded" makes the landing much less damaging on the body. I feel more for all the people who are nothing but sharp angles hitting the mat. Looks like that would hurt.
Quite honestly I really enjoy ukemi although, yes in the beginning, it was a challenge for me to learn it.
As for learning and advancing. Well I've caught up with and will likely overtake a few people in the dojo who started out well before I did.... if one has the dedication and the drive. Size is but a small issue in whether one progresses or not. And as one person in the dojo once said to me.... I have one heck of a killer drive.
In my experiences there are no advantages if being overweight. It's the other way round.
Overweight hinders training the way we do aikido. And as I said above there are not much people in aikido here, which suffer from overweight. You see this very seldom.
Agree being over weight is not an advantage at all. But it is also not really a disadvantage unless one allows it to be one. I would not say that the size of my body helps or hinders my aikido. Of course being more deeply centered and grounded than most, I do tend to have a bit of an effect on other peoples aikido. But I don't see that particular ability as coming from my size so much as just who I am and the background I have. I just don't loose my center all that easily.
I would hope that when I eventually shed this extra weight I'll still be just as difficult to move as I am now. And being stronger than most of my training partners, if anything, is a disadvantage as I have to remember not to muscle a technique even though I very easily can.
Being over weight is not a good or desirable thing. But for some it seems, myself included, that it will be a never ending battle. I for one am not going to allow my size to prevent me from doing the things I love to do, and doing them well.
Anita, thank you for your thoughtful post.