Re: Should obese aikidoka do break falls?
OK skinny guy talking but my heaviest student weighed a whopping 165 Kg at one point and a lot of thought and consultation went into what he could and could not do.
It is a simple fact of Aikido practice that most fitness benefit is actually gained through ukemi - not so much in going down but getting back up.
Large mass and speed do not mix - no matter how thick the tatami is. Also with bulk there is a certain lack of agility - safe forward roles were beyond him.
We insisted that if ukemi was called for he needed to go down. The forward role could be substituted for a turn and back breakfall. I left it to the student to decide how to lessen the impact here but he definitely got his workout in getting back up.
If physically there is something you can not do in Aikido (not just because of obesity) it is important that you try and find a way to compensate rather than just avoid,