Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
So many times I've seen skinny first year university students enter Shodokan and four years later am faced with a superbly conditioned and confident young man. The secret is the drills and randori that they practice every single day. That doesn't mean that certain of most skinny are not quietly told to do some exercies to strengthen certain joints and muscle groups but I know for a fact that many of them do no supplemental training whatsoever.
I don't deny that this is possible and works for some people. Most of the past masters of martial arts got their fitness training from nothing but manual labor and doing the art. Back then they didn't have scientifically based conditioning methods. They were also a self-selected lot: most of those who had too many injury problems or inadequate fitness probably just quit and we never heard about them.
The thing is, most Americans seem to come to Aikido from sedentary lives, and expecting the body to go from the couch and office chair to high-flying ukemi is unrealistic. Some people can get all the conditioning they need from Aikido itself, but it's a gamble. I tried it for years, with no other supplement but running, and I was no closer to participating as much as I wanted injury-free than when I started.
The point is, now we do have a large body of knowledge derived from science and collected experience of training international athletes of all kinds, so why not take advantage of it? ...if not for the sake of trying to expressly enhance Aikido performance, at least to provide a fitness foundation and injury resistance.