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Old 06-18-2009, 10:46 AM   #1
Evan Schmitt
Dojo: Okinawa Akikai
Location: Washington D.C.
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Height and Aikido

Greetings,

I have been training in Aikido for some time and I truly love the art. However, I am nearly 6'5'' tall and I worry that my hieght will keep me from progressing as much as I would like. There are a number of techniques that are difficult for me to execute because of my hieght. Are there any other tall Aikido practioners out there who have any useful advice with regards to training/techniques that are easier to execute for tall people? Is there a way I can actually use my hieght to my advantage?

Thank!
Evan
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Old 06-18-2009, 10:55 AM   #2
Taj Mikel
Dojo: Aikido Institute of New Mexico
Location: Albuquerque
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Re: Height and Aikido

Well, for what it's worth (not much probably, pretty inexperienced here) but in my dojo there seems to be a large focus on building balance in the lower stances. So perhaps it could be an opportunity to develope an extremely stable/strong low stance. I can imagine doing some of the moves with that height though, wow haha

Hope it helps Nice to meet you

-Ty A. Knight
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Old 06-18-2009, 11:02 AM   #3
odudog
Dojo: Dale City Aikikai
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Re: Height and Aikido

You will find in due time that there are some techniques that will be easier to do because of your height. Seagal is a tall guy as well and he has had no problems making it work for him so I don't see you not being able to do the same as well. Your shorter counterparts have the same question but only in reverse. You will find what works best for you and tend to stick in that realm. In the end, it's all good. If you ever feel like exploring, I welcome you to take a trip down south on the weekends and come visit me and my mates in Dale City, VA {early mornings though}.
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Old 06-18-2009, 11:17 AM   #4
Taj Mikel
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Thumbs up Re: Height and Aikido

Quote:
Mike Braxton wrote: View Post
Your shorter counterparts have the same question but only in reverse. You will find what works best for you and tend to stick in that realm.
This is probably true I study under a Sensei Teshiba and she has got to be all of 5 feet tall, MAXIMUM However, her form and technique is absolutely amazing. So certainly there must be a path to excellence on the other end of the height spectrum, as well

-Ty A. Knight
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Old 06-18-2009, 01:59 PM   #5
SeiserL
 
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Re: Height and Aikido

Is 6'4" tall?
If so, here I am.
Some techniques work better for us tall guys.
Most work better for a short guy, but are really great if a tall guys learns how to do them.
I do think its hard for us big (height and weight) guys, but it certainly is not an obstacle or difficult unless we make it an issue.
Just train. You will figure it out.
Welcome to the mat.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 06-18-2009, 02:29 PM   #6
lbb
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Re: Height and Aikido

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
I do think its hard for us big (height and weight) guys
I think you're right. OTOH, having small hands is hard too. I guess every body type has its training challenges.
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Old 06-18-2009, 02:35 PM   #7
Randy Sexton
Dojo: Aikido of Lake Keowee
Location: South Carolina
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Re: Height and Aikido

Trust me, Lynn Seiser has no problems controlling me and I am
5' 11" and 240 pounds. It is not about height or size it is about understanding the principles and allowing time for you to develop your Aikido.
By the way, search and read Lynn's columns on this website. Great stuff. Very talented writer and check out his books he has contributed to or written. I am currently re-reading one at the present!

Doc

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will"
Gandhi
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Old 06-18-2009, 02:36 PM   #8
Janet Rosen
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Re: Height and Aikido

At 5'2" I'm often the short one....except for the 4 yrs during which I assisted in kid's classes! :-) Sometimes it is worth actually dropping to hamni handachi if the differential is great.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 06-18-2009, 03:18 PM   #9
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Height and Aikido

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
At 5'2" I'm often the short one....except for the 4 yrs during which I assisted in kid's classes! :-) Sometimes it is worth actually dropping to hamni handachi if the differential is great.
I regularly do hamni handachi with the kids.
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Old 06-18-2009, 05:24 PM   #10
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Height and Aikido

You could move to Holland... you'd be on the tall side here as well, but not that unusual. At 165 cm I'm one of the shortest people in the dojo.

The tall people in our dojo (and it's not just guys) sometimes have to modify techniques a bit if they are working with a shorty like me, but then again I have to modify things as well if I'm working with someone much taller than I am.

kvaak
Pauliina
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Old 06-18-2009, 07:30 PM   #11
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Height and Aikido

I have a good friend who is very tall (well over 6 foot) as well and I have to say one of the most amazingly powerful and quick people I have ever seen. I'm only 5'7 and he laid me out quite nicely before I knew quite what had happened... and at that he was taking it easy on me because I'm kinda green. Talk about being hit with a planet....!

Hopefully he might come along and share some insight with you on how he manages that trick.

I'll second the comment on Lynn's columns. Quite excellent reading.
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Old 06-18-2009, 08:42 PM   #12
Karo
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Re: Height and Aikido

Ah, here you are again...

As your training partner in today's class, I have to say that your version of ude gatame was working very well

I was rather grateful for the opportunity to train with you - because things that I could have done relatively easily on someone shorter suddenly were not working... Not only that; I couldn't even remember what I was supposed to be doing because nothing seemed likely to work!

Karo
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Old 06-19-2009, 04:49 AM   #13
Nicholas Eschenbruch
Dojo: TV Denzlingen
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Re: Height and Aikido

Quote:
Ty Knight wrote: View Post
. So perhaps it could be an opportunity to develope an extremely stable/strong low stance.
I am 6'4'' and I think trying to have a very low stance must be done correctly, or else it may hinder your progress. A tall body is not just a bigger version of a small body, but more elongated most of the time. Standing very low can inhibit learning as a beginner, as it may make it more difficult to move your hips adequately. Also, it can bring problems in your lower back if not done correctly. Finally, it makes turning more difficult when we stand really low. So I think you have to be careful and pay a lot of attention to how you do it - that again, I agree, is a chance for learning.

In any case, in many techniques one must get underneath uke's centre, even if that is very low. However, try to find ways that suit your body and do not feel unnatural.

And there is nothing like having really long arms in a multiple attacker randori... palm smash to the chin, one after the other....
:-)

Last edited by Nicholas Eschenbruch : 06-19-2009 at 05:01 AM. Reason: improve clarity...
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Old 06-19-2009, 05:07 AM   #14
ruthmc
Dojo: Wokingham Aikido
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Re: Height and Aikido

Hi all,

One thing that is worth remembering is how uke attacks the taller or shorter tori...

Offering your arm or head or whichever attack point in a position which is comfortable for YOU (but not necessarily for uke ) gives you initial control of uke's balance at the start of the encounter.

The taller or shorter tori can use this to great advantage to effectively unbalance uke right at the beginning of the technique, upon first contact

Those of us of middle height just have to be a bit more sneaky about it, but we can learn to do this as well

Ruth
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Old 06-19-2009, 11:52 AM   #15
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Re: Height and Aikido

Oh, come one, stop worrying for nothing! My instructor is a bit shorter than Seagal Sensei, but he's also pretty good at what he's teaching. I'm the shortest adult in my dojo, and I keep hearing that this a big advantage, etc... I don't know, Sensei is always complaining that I lack ki, the big people do not seem to have any problem of that sort. My another big problem is grabbing those huge sweaty hands that I'm supposed to be able to squeeze like a lemon. Yeah, right. I keep losing them, and, by the end of the class, my own hands are sore from all this fruitless squeezing.
It's just that some techniques are easier on a bigger uke, while the others work best on a smaller one.
You work on your balance, I work on my ki, each one of us has his or her own issue to work on.
Let's go train.
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Old 06-19-2009, 02:26 PM   #16
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: Height and Aikido

Tall, short and "average" heights all have their problems. I guess I am "average" for a girl at 5' 6''. Most of the people I work (mostly men at my dojo) are taller and bigger then me. I find that I have to adapt to them, but I don't mind. Chances are, if I am going to be attacked, it is going to be a guy and possibly taller then I am. I say, learn what you have to do to do the technique well and train with as many different people as possible.

In my old style, sometimes I would get partnered with a 6 year old. You have to get VERY low to the ground to do a hip throw to those little one's! My guess is that as you train over the years, you will gain a great center and sense of balance that some other people will not be forced to have. That will pay off for you in other areas of your life as well.

Good luck!
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Old 06-19-2009, 06:00 PM   #17
ChrisHein
 
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Re: Height and Aikido

Steven Seagal is really tall, and has some of the most beautiful Aikido I've ever seen. More training, fewer excuses is my prescription.

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Old 06-19-2009, 06:48 PM   #18
Rabih Shanshiry
 
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Re: Height and Aikido

I believe one of the two senior students of Utada Sensei (of the Doshinkan) is 4th dan and a good 6'4" or 6'5" as well. Might have some challenges along the way, but nothing that can't be overcome.

In fact, I believe the senior-most ranking non-Japanese practictioner of Daito-ryu Aikijutsu Roppokai is paralyzed from the waist down - and was so when he started training. He has an amazing, inspiring story that should put things into perspective. Check it out: Ole Kingston Jensen is his name.
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