huh, one of the hardest throwers I've ever met, and one of the best aikidoka (in my opinion) was a short, fat, bloke. I wouldn't have said it to his face though (the short, fat part...).
I thought Ron might be talking about me here, but I'm nowhere near the best at anything aikido-related, nor a particularly hard thrower.
Actually, another one just popped into my mind...and he's still alive. And would kick my butt if he saw me typing this...
Ah ha! The previous fellow is no longer alive, so I Ron talking about me here? Probably not, there's no way I could kick his butt.
Seriously, I'm 5' 10" and until recently I was between 300 and 325 pounds. I've been training for nearly nine years now and for almost all of that time have been above 300 pounds. I finally got serious about my weight, joined Weight Watchers, and have lost 55 pounds since September 2007. I'm now at 270. My ultimate goal is to get to 200-220 pounds (at least I think that's my goal).
I've always worn a size 7 gi, but some of my gis have fit better than others. My main problem has been that the pants simply don't want to stay up. I've seriously considered using suspenders! I'll probably Bu Jin makes gi pants with elastic waist bands and either zippers or draw strings. I'll probably buy a pair of those when I next need new pants.
As for training, I've written a bit about my weight in my blog here, but basically I really felt I was at a severe disadvantage for a very long time. After attending a couple of seminars taught by Ellis Amdur, I realized that each body type has different advantages and disadvantages. Being big gave me a great deal of stability and a strong center.
The weight loss has changed my aikido, and I'm still not sure how. I feel lighter (duh!) and ukemi is easier. I don't get as winded as I used to get. But I also don't feel as centered or grounded as I used to feel.
I guess I still need to practice.