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Old 04-11-2007, 12:38 AM   #26
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 241
Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

I really cannot relate. I have been a bodybuilder for many years now. At one time, I reached the measurements of Arnold S. So, has being muscular hindered my aikido? Not at all. I have been acused of muscling my way through technique but that comes from people that doesn't know what it is like to be incredibly strong. Naturaly, my centripetal force is outrageous.

I felt limber from stretching etc. I felt relaxed through confidence. Although aikido works through technique, being big and strong is only a plus as things come alot easier. I hope I made some sense.
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Old 04-11-2007, 10:49 PM   #27
Location: Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 8
Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

Wow, this thread certainly picked up some steam after a very slow start!

I found all of the responses very interesting but I am left with a new question; what would be an effective weight lifting regimen that would enhance/improve aikido movements?

Personally, I have been experimenting with free weights, cables, and body weight exercises combined with high weight/low rep or low weight/high rep. So far, I have found that lower weight with higher reps seems to have a negligible influence on my ukemi.

On an interesting note, I mentioned this issue to a very talented aikidoka with whom I practice. He did not really have an opinion about it at the time. However, during an evening class after I had gone to the gym that morning (and did relatively heavy weights, for me) he asked, "Have you been lifting weights again?" When I inquired as to why he asked, he said I felt "more stiff." Certainly not conclusive, but interesting nonetheless.
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:46 PM   #28
dps's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,353
Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

I found this while looking for something else.


The Life of O-Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba
Part One
by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Second Doshu

" On this occasion, he made up his mind to build a strong body and after recovering began walking two and a half miles every day. This continued for ten days. Then twenty. Eventually he began running. He slowly gained physical strength and became capable of lifting two straw bales of rice, while previously he had not been able to lift even one. By the time he was
about twenty he began to look quite different.

Although he was still short his body was much stronger than ordinary people's...

The Founder was full of youthful vigor. He had an unyielding spirit. If others did twice as much as ordinary people, he would do four times. If others carried 80 pounds, he would carry 160 pounds. His quick temper found good opportunities for expression in the rice-cake-making contests of his village.

In these contests a large scoop of a special type of cooked rice is placed in a huge stone mortar or bowl. Then a large sledge, something like a wooden mallet with elongated head, is used to pound the cooked rice. An assistant constantly turns the rice over on itself as it is being pounded. Gradually the rice is transformed into a rubber-like substance which is laid out in flat cakes to cool before eating. The weight of the sledge with its awkwardly-shaped elongated head, and the force and frequency of the kneading means that making the cake requires a great deal of strength.

In these contests the Founder eagerly matched himself against other strong young men-four, six. Then ten. All were defeated. Finally the Founder broke the pounder. He would go to other places to pound rice and again broke many pounders. People eventually had to politely refuse the Founder's offer to help make rice cakes for fear he might break more of them. Instead, they served tea and pastries, in the Japanese way reserved for honored guests, to keep him away from the rice-cake-making area.

He was only 157 cm tall (5'2") but he had a tank-like structure and weighed more than 81 kilogram (180 lbs). He played second to no one in his troop when it came to heavy gymnastics, running and carrying. As Japan was at war, training was twice as hard as usual. Many soldiers dropped out. The Founder used to march at the head of the troops carrying two or three persons' heavy equipment."

Thought it might be relevant.

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events not of words. Trust movement. --Alfred Adler
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Old 04-12-2007, 12:03 AM   #29
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 241
Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

Hi Jeffery,

I would set some physical goals for yourself and achieve them. This could be overall body fitness or perhaps as hardcore as bodybuilding. In either case, it will enhance your aiki experience and improve your lifestyle. The reason I say this in a vague way is that, I am encouraging you to do what interests you most because you will be more likely to stick with it.

For ecample, some people don't like the butt load of pain nor the bulkiness that comes with being a bodybuilder and some prefer the GQ look. In either case, focus on total body fitness, strength, and endurance. Work on the endurance by using a variety of cardio regimens. This will help in randori, for sure.

Like we have all said, aikido doesn't require alot of strength but it sure makes things easier at times in terms of your overall function, stability, endurance, etc. So, pick what goal you would like to reach, do some research on what will take you there, and most importantly, have fun with it!

Now days, I have the size and strength, I actually want to tone down a bit. I want to retain the muscularity I have but work more on endurance and become a little more lean.

I spend 30-45 mins on free weights and cables and, 1-1.5 hrs on cardio. I work out 4-5 days a week. I work different body parts on different days and in different orders. I change this up frequently. I am particular as to what and when I eat as well. I know this is vague but I was offering a glimpse into what I think about.

Now, each person is different and what one person does in their work out may not be for you. You have to take your body type, metabolism, and fitness goal into account when begining a regimen. I suggest meeting with a trainer that can evaluate you to get you started. Good Luck!
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Old 04-12-2007, 09:43 AM   #30
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 768
Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

Jeffrey Erb wrote: View Post
Wow, this thread certainly picked up some steam after a very slow start!

I found all of the responses very interesting but I am left with a new question; what would be an effective weight lifting regimen that would enhance/improve aikido movements?
I should really keep this on my hard drive to save typing. But in brief:

I think the best approach is to hire the best coaches/trainers you can afford. Basically, this is how high level athletes train. They have a strength/condition coach, a nutritionalist, a technical/skill coach (in this case, your aikido instructor(s)), and some "recovery" coaches (massage therapist, chiropractor, etc.....) Of course, this can be very time consuming and expensive.

The next best approach is to copy the routines of high level coaches and modify them for your needs. For example, you might grab a book from a nutritionalist and then plan your diet accordingly. Or, you might not be able to find a strength/conditioning coach for aikido, but find a program from a coach for judo and modify it, and so on.

The next best approach is a "wholistic" training methodology. A number of methodologies are segmented, dividing the body into parts or physical attributes and training them on separate days (back/biceps on Monday, cardio on Tuesday, yoga on Wednesday...and so on --- very time consuming) IMO, life doesn't work that way, so why train that way? Examples of "wholistic" programs would be crossfit (www.crossfit.com) or "The Firm" (which has a series of instructional videos).

Finally, we reach the segmented approach -- cardio 3 times a week, strength and conditioning 2 times a week, yoga on the weekends -- or somesuch.

Any activity is better than nothing at all, and anything that improves your health and fitness level will keep you on the mat longer, which in my mind, makes it good for aikido.

Of course, ymmv.


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Old 04-21-2007, 05:11 PM   #31
Dojo: aikido of charlotte
Location: Charlotte
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 112
Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

I have been practicing aikido now for 14 years and am 51. I have done a regular weight training routine for a couple of years now gradually building up the weight. My workout takes a little over an hour and works most of the muscle groups.

I undertook this routine to forestall the eventual decline in muscle mass that comes with aging. I obviously will never at this age be bulky nor do I want to be. I have noticed two beneficial effects. One is that as others have said, having more efficient muscles allows for easier technique, and that is doubly true when one has some level of competence in the movements. Secondly, I have been told by an orthopedic doc that I have a small degenerative meniscus tear on the outer meniscus. I was prepared to get it worked on but chose instead to do more weight work on my legs. I have effectively regained much of the deteriorated function because of the stronger musculature around the knees. I can once again do koshi nage on both sides comfortably, even throwing koshi's on 250-280 lb guys. That is gratifying. Also, since I have added muscle mass, I can still hang in there ukemi-wise with the youngsters. It also helps to know how to effectively fall, but I can go at a higher level. So, I think for older aikidoka, weight training is a very effective adjunct training
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Old 04-23-2007, 06:31 AM   #32
Aran Bright
Dojo: Griffith Aikido Yuishinkai
Location: Brisbane
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 120
Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

I am glad to see this discussion has got moving again.

What exercises, as specifically as possible, are good exercises for aikido?


Brisbane Aikido Republic
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