Thread: Obesity
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Old 10-24-2009, 07:34 AM   #7
AsimHanif
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 495
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Re: Obesity and Aikido

This is something I often discuss since I not only run a dojo but I’m involved in fitness as a whole. I don’t necessarily agree with your premise but I do think there are a lot of martial artists today who are out of shape. There are a lot of reasons for this obviously. The least of which I would say is from quitting smoking.
Normally we don’t do enough conditioning in an aikido class. There is just not enough time. I often stress the need for doing separate conditioning training outside of aikido. I get very irritated when I see a person younger than me gassing out during training. A catch 22 for aikido (and other arts) is that the more efficient you become, the less movement you rely on, hence less activity = less calories being burned. So we have to do more outside of class.
I often hear about such and such a sensei being big (overweight) and still being effective. That may be true on the mat to some extent but I also view this as a quality of life issue. How much more functional could a person be if they were in shape and to me that doesn’t mean just ‘not obese’. There are many people who look fit (no fat) but are not physically fit.
As far as BMI is concerned I say ‘throw that out’. Its not the best indicator of fitness levels. I prefer for people to look objectively at themselves. How do your cloths fit? Do you get out of breath quickly? Can you hear yourself breathe while standing still? Do you have a hard time getting up after a few rolls?
As far as examples in aikido I think we can look at the Shihan who are or have lived well into their 80’s. Look at their body type. Most from my recollection seem to be on the slimmer side. More importantly examine how functional they‘ve been in later years (on and off the mat). How many Shihan today in their 60’s don’t even take ukemi? I’ve observed a lot of 6 dan’s who are really broken up today from training harsh (not hard) which to me relates to improper conditioning, health and wellness.
Don’t’ mean to go on and on but this is a BIG issue for me.

Asim

Last edited by AsimHanif : 10-24-2009 at 07:37 AM. Reason: corrected sentence
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