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Old 01-10-2014, 01:12 PM   #1
Campbell
Dojo: None..Yet
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Should I get in better shape before starting?

Just curious...the dojo is starting a Introductory Aikido course on February 1st. I have been trying to get into better shape before it starts. Not that I'm in terrible shape now (though I do need to lose some lbs for sure) but until about this last month or so I have had little to no exercise....been working out and doing cardio for about the last 4 weeks or so.

Anyway, I can start before then if I want but I'm trying to decide if I should or not...opinions please.
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Old 01-10-2014, 01:53 PM   #2
jonreading
 
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Re: Should I get in better shape before starting?

I get this question more times that it should matter. No, you should not see a level of fitness as a barrier to your training. You gotta start somewhere and often our fitness is a self-imposed barrier to starting a number of activities.

I advocate that students should be healthy enough to train without injury. There have been occasions when I have asked a student to refrain from training because training represented a serious health risk, but in general your level of health is associated with the level of comfort you will experience.

Now, if you are inquiring because you are at-risk because of a health condition, then maybe you should see your doc and ask permission. Better safe than sorry.

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Old 01-10-2014, 02:52 PM   #3
Adam Huss
 
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Re: Should I get in better shape before starting?

Doesn't matter. Unless you regularly do aikido, you won't be in 'aikido shape.' Its just such a unique set of movement patterns - all the getting up and down, and rolling, its just not going to be natural for you…thus seeming more extraneous than it is. Same goes for swimming, grappling, boxing, etc. Just jump in and do it. The worst that can happen is you'll be uncomfortable for the first few weeks, and there's nothing wrong with that! Have fun!

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 01-10-2014, 03:49 PM   #4
GMaroda
Dojo: Allegheny Aikido
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Re: Should I get in better shape before starting?

While the question is understandable, it strikes me as odd now that I've practiced Aikido for awhile.

When the question is asked, it treats Aikido as an end goal. What should I do to get to this point? But to me Aikido is a process, not a goal.

To put it another way, one doesn't say "should I get in shape to start running?" One does say, "should I get in shape to run a marathon?" And the answer to that second question is, "yes, so you should start running!"
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Old 01-10-2014, 06:16 PM   #5
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Should I get in better shape before starting?

Quote:
Greg Maroda wrote: View Post
While the question is understandable, it strikes me as odd now that I've practiced Aikido for awhile.

When the question is asked, it treats Aikido as an end goal. What should I do to get to this point? But to me Aikido is a process, not a goal.

To put it another way, one doesn't say "should I get in shape to start running?" One does say, "should I get in shape to run a marathon?" And the answer to that second question is, "yes, so you should start running!"
I really like that! Thank you for putting it down for us to consider!

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:02 PM   #6
BJohnston
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Re: Should I get in better shape before starting?

You don't have to be in any kind of shape to start training. That is true, but it also doesn't hurt either. I attended summer camp this past year for the 1st time. One thing became apparent to me. Training two days a week isn't enough exercise for me. For the first time since I began practicing Aikido I decided to get in shape. I feel great and it has benefited my intensity level during practicing hand over fist.

Everyone has a different approach when it comes to fitness and aikido. Find what works for you. Regardless, you're body will benefit from the practice alone.

Good luck on your venture.

B
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Old 01-11-2014, 06:52 PM   #7
Janet Rosen
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Re: Should I get in better shape before starting?

Just go. I was an out of shape 41 yr old, just cleared for return to normal activity following abdominal surgery, first time I bowed in. That was 18 years ago this month!

Janet Rosen
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Old 01-12-2014, 03:54 AM   #8
PeterR
 
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Re: Should I get in better shape before starting?

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Just go. I was an out of shape 41 yr old, just cleared for return to normal activity following abdominal surgery, first time I bowed in. That was 18 years ago this month!
Well Happy Birthday Janet

Well I have had people in superb running shape start Aikido with me who had real trouble in the first few weeks and one guy at 160 Kg who had his own problems. Both adjusted and did well. OK the runner did better faster but so what.

Point being the best way to get in shape for any activity is to do that activity. With Aikido especially physical requirement is really defined by the individual and practice can be adjusted accordingly.

And yes 'I am not in enough shape' is a classic excuse not to get in shape (start a physical activity).

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-12-2014, 08:35 AM   #9
Mark Harrington
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Re: Should I get in better shape before starting?

I was 49 the first time I bowed in. I was sore for weeks, it took me a long time to develop my ukemi, but there wasn't any way to get started except to start.
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Old 01-12-2014, 08:54 PM   #10
hughrbeyer
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Re: Should I get in better shape before starting?

Yep. We had one young guy join up at what must have been 300 pounds. I thought he wouldn't last a week. He's a shodan now, at least 100 pounds lighter, and his aikido is very nice indeed.

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
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Old 01-13-2014, 02:10 AM   #11
Eva Antonia
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Re: Should I get in better shape before starting?

Hello,

I did lots of sports, and intensively so, although without any talent or success, until I was 18. Then I moved away for university and dropped them all. The only movement I did was walking to the bus stop or cycling to some very nearby places.
I started aikido 20 years later and didn't even feel I was out of shape. Probably because I started slowly, one lesson per week, and then gradually increased up to 4 times per week + all seminars possible.

After 7 years of aikido, I have the impression I'm in pretty good shape. I still get easily out of breath, when doing dynamic techniques for a time, but on the other hand I quickly recover my breath again and can continue at normal or high speed (teacher explaining new technique allows to recover...) for a long time.

So in my opinion the good physical condition comes with the training. Just don't go beyond your limits at the start. Anyway, you will discover new limits you didn't even know about before, such as flexibility, intuition, sense for distance, reaction speed, equilibrium etc....

Best regards,

Eva
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Old 01-13-2014, 03:46 AM   #12
PeterR
 
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Re: Should I get in better shape before starting?

Quote:
Barry Johnston wrote: View Post
Training two days a week isn't enough exercise for me.
This is also a really good point. Good fitness does equate to good Aikido, pretty much true for any physical activity. Fitness like anything is defined by your circumstance and is relative but must be taken into consideration.

This is different from the original poster asking about fitness training before starting Aikido but if you are only doing aikido twice a week - even the aikido specific conditioning will not get you anywhere.

Supplementing your training with other off-day exercises is a good idea.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-13-2014, 05:26 AM   #13
Walter Martindale
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Re: Should I get in better shape before starting?

All depends on your starting point. Without some base information it's hard to say.
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Old 01-13-2014, 08:38 AM   #14
Campbell
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Re: Should I get in better shape before starting?

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
This is also a really good point. Good fitness does equate to good Aikido, pretty much true for any physical activity. Fitness like anything is defined by your circumstance and is relative but must be taken into consideration.

This is different from the original poster asking about fitness training before starting Aikido but if you are only doing aikido twice a week - even the aikido specific conditioning will not get you anywhere.

Supplementing your training with other off-day exercises is a good idea.
I'm working out 4 times a week right now. It would probably go to 2 or three times once I start Aikido.

I have only been working out about a month now though.
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:51 AM   #15
Malicat
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Re: Should I get in better shape before starting?

Quote:
Brandon Coker wrote: View Post
I'm working out 4 times a week right now. It would probably go to 2 or three times once I start Aikido.

I have only been working out about a month now though.
Brandon,

I have found that a lot of times if you keep delaying doing something because of trying to be in better shape, you'll never start it. Personally I do weightlifting and light cardio 2x a week, heavy cardio 3x a week, and Aikido 3x a week, with a rest on Sundays. That being said, I did absolutely nothing for a few years before I started Aikido. I've found that starting Aikido first is better, because it's complicated, interesting, and fun to do, and that leads to a desire for more healthy habits in terms of eating as well as exercise.

--Ashley
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Old 01-13-2014, 01:02 PM   #16
Dave de Vos
 
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Re: Should I get in better shape before starting?

I hardly did anything to stay fit in 25 years before I started aikido in 2010, but this was not an issue when I started. Some students can run ten miles and some cannot even run a quarter mile.

I did get fitter from doing aikido, but in my experience, aikido is more about coordination than about fitness.
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