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Old 06-21-2010, 08:23 AM   #76
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Sensei and size

Just out of curiosity having not been in MA for long and so not really seeing maybe as much as others have. Just how many 60+ year old karate ,or other than aikido, senseis are out there and still practicing?

Thank you David. I agree that eating right makes a big difference. But I also see what a lot of much more "fit" appearing people are eating and there is a lot more to it than just self control and food intake. I eat a lot healthier ,and a lot less than many of them. Another issue I have run into. Its not easy in this country to eat well when you are not well of financially. Being well below the poverty line I know what it is to have to stretch the grocery budget and the most inexpensive foods available also happen to be the ones worst for us. Lots of refined and over processed carbohydrates and starches. The cost of healthy foods like produce dairy, whole grains and lean meats is just getting higher and higher. IE: I can chose a loaf of Whole grain bread for $3 or a loaf of white bread for .69....

Fortunately Ive gotten so I can finally manage to eat better. Higher quality food definitely makes a difference.

Not saying that most overweight senseis are poor ,I don't know.But being as this age group is also likely to be retired and on a fixed income or not having the easiest time finding work. Since I understand that teaching aikido is not, for most, a way to make a living then this is just one more factor among many to consider.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:25 AM   #77
David Orange
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Just out of curiosity having not been in MA for long and so not really seeing maybe as much as others have. Just how many 60+ year old karate ,or other than aikido, senseis are out there and still practicing?
In Japan, you find quite a lot of them still "training" while in America you find a lot of them still "teaching." And guess which ones are in better shape?

But as I said, Alex Marshall was training like a young man into his late seventies without an ounce of fat and I know he had some injuries, having been doing jujutsu since 1917!

In my personal acquaintance, Paul Couch Sensei, of Shinkendo (and a long time direct student of Mas Oyama in karate), mid-seventies, serious knee injury, but chief of training for Jefferson County Sheriff's Academy and in tough Marine DI condition.

And his friend, Ron Epstein, whom I haven't seen in years, but who I am sure is still tough as nails and I think he's still teaching karate.

Mochizuki Sensei was in his mid eighties when I lived with him and he would still get on the mat and sometimes took mild ukemi.

Kyoichi Murai was in his late seventies last I saw him and he still did sutemi throws and took ukemi for them. Alex Marshall was the only American I ever knew who compared to him (come to think of it, the only person).

There were also some other "older" guys around the yoseikan and none of those shihan carried extra weight.

And how about Hirokazu Kanazawa?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Atk9aiunwBo

I think he's in his seventies in this clip. Somehow, the adding of pounds with the years does not seem to have applied to him.

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Thank you David. I agree that eating right makes a big difference. But I also see what a lot of much more "fit" appearing people are eating and there is a lot more to it than just self control and food intake. I eat a lot healthier ,and a lot less than many of them.
They probably just train so hard they burn it off. But that is not likely to continue as they age. If they don't have good eating habits, that will contribute to a slowdown of their training and then the bad eating will contribute to weight gain and disease that will lead to more weight gain...

I think the #1 "bad eating" is actually "drinking." Beer is probably #1, and wine close after. And then, all the foods that go well with those things. Then general junk food like chips and all the cheesy stuff like pizza (which, as Demura Sensei pointed out, is okay if you don't eat the whole pizza.

In other words, when we eat something even while hearing a voice in our heads saying "I know I shouldn't eat this, but..." then that is just lack of discipline, of which I am certainly guilty, myself. I'm certainly not pointing the finger at any individual (because when you point a finger at someone else, three fingers point back at yourself).

I'm just talking about general facts of health and healthy eating and how we Americans accept marketing and convenience over those truths. And how many aikidoists simply lack the discipline to live by those truths. And how that denial of truth invariably shows up in how and what they practice on the mat. And how those two errors show up in shorter ends of the obi.

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Another issue I have run into. Its not easy in this country to eat well when you are not well of financially. ...Not saying that most overweight senseis are poor ,I don't know.But being as this age group is also likely to be retired and on a fixed income or not having the easiest time finding work...
Sadly, we're not generally discussing senseis in their late sixties or into their seventies. We're talking about people in their forties and fifties. Look around. I remember a young, slender man some thirty years ago teaching aikido and several years later seeing him at what looked like more than double his earlier weight. He was younger than I am and he died not too long ago of a heart attack, I believe.

Well, again, we never know how we'll go or when, but packing on the pounds and excusing it because we do aikido and "don't need" to be fit is wrong to oneself, one's students and one's art. Of course, there was the karate man doctor who ran and lifted weights on alternate nights and dropped dead of a heart attack at about age 52. And Bruce Lee, at 32. But in both those cases, I think there was something much more than mere conditioning at work.

I think my highest weight ever was between 210 and 215 lbs. (at 5'11") and I didn't like it. Some was due to injury, but mostly, it was beer and the wrong kinds of food.

I'm now about 10 pounds heavier than I was 9 years ago--but that's over 25 pounds lighter than 10 years ago. And I can say it's better to get the weight off and it feels better to eat healthier foods.

As you say, there's the cost and then there's also the convenience of eating poorly. But the alternative is diabetes, heart disease and injury to joints and muscles.

Of course, Hitler was a vegetarian and always trim and spiffy, but having discipline doesn't have to mean becoming a Nazi. It mostly means doing "a little better" and keeping that up consistently over the years.

Best to all.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:34 AM   #78
David Orange
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Another issue I have run into. Its not easy in this country to eat well when you are not well of financially. Being well below the poverty line I know what it is to have to stretch the grocery budget and the most inexpensive foods available also happen to be the ones worst for us. Lots of refined and over processed carbohydrates and starches. The cost of healthy foods like produce dairy, whole grains and lean meats is just getting higher and higher. IE: I can chose a loaf of Whole grain bread for $3 or a loaf of white bread for .69....
Funny, I just happened to see this article:

http://shine.yahoo.com/event/green/5...pound-1677000/

A lot of it requires changing tastes and spending more time on food prep, but it pays off in the long saunter.

I'd also recommend "Body for Life". You don't have to do it in 12 weeks and you don't have to do all the weight training or take the supplements to get long lasting improvement, just by making the eating changes he recommends.

Gambatte!

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:04 AM   #79
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Re: Sensei and size

This thread is full of generalizations, but I wonder if it makes any sense to generalize. We're talking about aikido sensei. So, if we accept the generalization that opened this thread, we're still not talking about that many people. Why not look at some individual cases? Anyone want to throw up some specific examples of supersized sensei and then suggest how they got to that state, with facts to back it up?
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:31 AM   #80
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
In Japan, you find quite a lot of them still "training" while in America you find a lot of them still "teaching." And guess which ones are in better shape?
in Japan.... so this we have to agree is really an American problem not and aikido problem.

Quote:
, but packing on the pounds and excusing it because we do aikido and "don't need" to be fit is wrong to oneself, one's students and one's art.
I keep seeing this comment and I have a hard time really understanding it. I guess because when I train I work out hard. So does everyone in the dojo as far as I can tell including my teachers. I suppose there are people out there who really don't think aikido is a workout but then neither is anything else if you don't make it into one. Even P90x can fail to get someone in shape who is not dedicated to actually working.

Again not an aikido problem. Yet other symptom of the American way of life that can come up in any sport discipline or way of life.

Quote:
I think the #1 "bad eating" is actually "drinking." Beer is probably #1, and wine close after. And then, all the foods that go well with those things. Then general junk food like chips and all the cheesy stuff like pizza
well then...
I don't drink beer and rarely drink alcohol of any kind.
I rarely buy chips candy or any other junk food and I don't keep them in the house. And usually just buy enough for one or two servings.
I eat pizza maybe once a month... probably less. I'm finding I like it less and less.
My favorite fast food is Subway. And at that again only occasionally. I rarely eat out and I don't buy those convenient frozen meals, even the so called diet ones.
I drink only water, unsweetened tea, a little coffee and Gatorade on workout days.
I eat lots of fruits veggies and whole grains, nuts and a small amount of lean meat.

so... I work out hard 6 hours a week plus ride horses, plus work as a farrier, plus work on my feet at a fast paced kitchen. You'd think I'd be loosing weight a whole lot faster than I am. There is more to it than just food.

Oh and I'm much stronger physically than most guys I know.

Yes food is one big issue. I'm not discounting it.
Yes people have to have the discipline and have to work. Not saying that is not a major factor.

But Genetics does play a part. A persons situation in life does play a part. Sometimes even when one makes all of the good choices that are currently available to them things still get in the way. Some [people simply cannot reach the socially accepted view of what is fit and healthy. And its not always because of limitations of major health issues or injuries.

Quote:
As you say, there's the cost and then there's also the convenience of eating poorly. But the alternative is diabetes, heart disease and injury to joints and muscles.
Sometimes there is no choice. If I have $10 to get enough food to get me through a week I will be forced to make poor choices. This is reality. I've been there actually I've stretched $10 to two weeks a time or two.

Quote:
A lot of it requires changing tastes and spending more time on food prep, but it pays off in the long saunter.

I'd also recommend "Body for Life". You don't have to do it in 12 weeks and you don't have to do all the weight training or take the supplements to get long lasting improvement, just by making the eating changes he recommends.
I agree very much that making changes is necessary and not easy. In the past 10 years I've cut sugars, refined starches and salt out. The longer Ive been away form them the less I find I enjoy them. In fact I generally when I indulge in something sweet find it to be disgustingly too sweet. I never salt my food and find that things that come with salt in them are often too salty to eat. Can't stand the taste and texture of white bread and pasta anymore. But there are times when whose are truly my only options.

Body for life is a wonderful program. There are lots of great programs out there that can help. Ive looked into a lot of them.

My point of view is simply this. Yes there are a lot of things in the American way of life that need to change. people do need to step up and make the changes not just sit back and whine and complain that its too hard. But that said its not easy. And being derogatory to people who have these issues not only does not help but in many cases does much harm.

Get to know the person training with you. perhaps you can encourage and inspire them. Perhaps come to appreciate them and accept that they are doing the best they can.

I'm not looking for someone to hand me their answers to my problems. I already know the answers. The last thing I need is some well meaning idiot putting up roadblocks in the form of commentary on a subject that they have not had to deal with themselves. Walk a few hundred miles in their shoes. Then you can give all the advice you like.

I remember when I was a young teenager hearing people tell me I was fat. Hearing my step dad call me humongous. (little did I realize it was not my weight he was suffering to). Those words actually caused me to develop some problems including depression and overeating and contributed to a problem that actually, looking back at old pictures, did not even exist.
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Old 06-21-2010, 11:22 AM   #81
Adam Huss
 
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Just out of curiosity having not been in MA for long and so not really seeing maybe as much as others have. Just how many 60+ year old karate ,or other than aikido, senseis are out there and still practicing?

Thank you David. I agree that eating right makes a big difference. But I also see what a lot of much more "fit" appearing people are eating and there is a lot more to it than just self control and food intake. I eat a lot healthier ,and a lot less than many of them. Another issue I have run into. Its not easy in this country to eat well when you are not well of financially. Being well below the poverty line I know what it is to have to stretch the grocery budget and the most inexpensive foods available also happen to be the ones worst for us. Lots of refined and over processed carbohydrates and starches. The cost of healthy foods like produce dairy, whole grains and lean meats is just getting higher and higher. IE: I can chose a loaf of Whole grain bread for $3 or a loaf of white bread for .69....

Fortunately Ive gotten so I can finally manage to eat better. Higher quality food definitely makes a difference.

Not saying that most overweight senseis are poor ,I don't know.But being as this age group is also likely to be retired and on a fixed income or not having the easiest time finding work. Since I understand that teaching aikido is not, for most, a way to make a living then this is just one more factor among many to consider.
Cherrie,
Generally size is synonymous with fitness, but this is not always the case. I know skinny people that can't run up three flights of stairs without being winded.

All,
That being said I believe physical fitness, vigorous physical fitness, is an important part of training...particularly the aspect of tanren training or spirit forging. This was also believed by Ueshiba Morihei as his early training involved vigorous physical exercise and hard technique. For my training, these two concepts are critical to achieve self betterment...overcoming difficulties, doing things that are hard, and training with a martial sense.

I understand some people have serious injury...most don't. There are always exceptions and I don't think anyone is arguing that. Focusing on this type of argument is like "what if" -ing techniques in aikido all day long...ultimately a waste of time.

In my experiences in the Marine Corps, its amazing how many people have gained too much weight and complained that they have injuries from deployments, bomb blasts, too much humping, etc. When forced to actually exercise and run more (and eat/live well), they lose the weight, and can run and exercise much more vigorously over a vastly increased level of sustainment and feel euphoric afterward (vice being sore). This is applicable to the majority of practitioners in aikido...again, I understand some people have been thrown by horses, have diabetes, etc...but most haven't.

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:59 PM   #82
Garth Jones
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Re: Sensei and size

In my experience, I've needed more than just aikido to stay fit as I have become more senior. It's hard to get a real workout when teaching a class, even when I work out during my own classes. By 'real workout' I mean the equivalent of a spinning class or a vigorous bike ride.

I'm about David's size, 5'11" and was near 210 at my heaviest. I begain training much more regularly four years ago when my wife and I opened our dojo, but we were teaching most of the classes (still are). Also, training with juniors I can't always go at a speed that is aerobic for me. So while I was doing more aikido, my weight was slowly creeping up. Also, I have a lower back problem and some days I can't take ukemi for two hours of class.

The solution for me has been better diet, more regular trips to the gym for strength workouts and a bunch of hours on my bike. Happily I'm down below 190 now, my back feels better, and I can be much more energetic at the dojo. My optimal weight is in the high 170s, so I'm not quite were I want to be yet - but I'm getting there.

Aikido has always provided me a base level of fitness, but it hasn't been enough. Maybe if I was in a situation where I was training 5-6 hours a day, but very few of us can do that....

Cheers,
Garth
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:49 PM   #83
DH
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
This thread is full of generalizations, but I wonder if it makes any sense to generalize. We're talking about aikido sensei. So, if we accept the generalization that opened this thread, we're still not talking about that many people. Why not look at some individual cases? Anyone want to throw up some specific examples of supersized sensei and then suggest how they got to that state, with facts to back it up?
You can skip injuries-that doesn't add weight
You can skip being sedate-that doesn't add weight
You can skip lack of training-nope...not there either.

It's by carrying food to our faces and putting it in.
No excess food...no fat.
End of story.

The rest; Healing up, taking care of yourself, getting good exercise, more training- that is for your health and well being. It has a side benefit that it uses more energy to do so, so we can carry more food to our face..and maybe some nice libations to wash it all down!
So cut back on training and exercise- cut back on intake.
More training and exercise-more food
Good food then becomes a reward instead of a requirement.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 06-21-2010 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 06-21-2010, 05:02 PM   #84
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Sensei and size

Adam I agree with you entirely. I'm simply not getting the point across that I intend. This thread seemed to be saying this is a problem in aikido when in fact this is a problem in the US...across the board and no matter what sport, discipline or hobby one might take up. It is not an aikido problem it is a humans in the 21st century problem.

Dan... yep Calories is calories... but it does matter where they come from. If your body does not get the nutrition form the food we eat that it needs it tends to demand more as your body is attempting to get the missing nutrients it needs. Ive seen some medical discussions lately around weight loss issues and how cutting calories can in fact hamper weight loss.

Garth sensei you and Tara sensei have been setting a very fine example for the dojo and it is appreciated and not unnoticed.
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Old 06-21-2010, 05:53 PM   #85
Walter Martindale
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
You can skip injuries-that doesn't add weight
You can skip being sedate-that doesn't add weight
You can skip lack of training-nope...not there either.

It's by carrying food to our faces and putting it in.
No excess food...no fat.
End of story.

The rest; Healing up, taking care of yourself, getting good exercise, more training- that is for your health and well being. It has a side benefit that it uses more energy to do so, so we can carry more food to our face..and maybe some nice libations to wash it all down!
So cut back on training and exercise- cut back on intake.
More training and exercise-more food
Good food then becomes a reward instead of a requirement.
Cheers
Dan
Yup.. I was complaining to a person about how much weight I was putting on - typical Kiwi - to the point - he said "So? Shut your pie-hole."

Easier said than done - cut back from 2 training sessions/day, 6 days/week, 6-7000 calories/day to 3 exercise sessions/week, and your appetite takes a while to 'catch down' to your new output regime.
Cheers,
Walter
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Old 06-21-2010, 07:40 PM   #86
DonMagee
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Oh yes, Don, that's exactly what I did, give up. I've got rheumatoid arthritis and I train. I've trained with pain that you can't imagine. And guess what, it's not always possible to just tell yourself all that eat-your-wheaties propaganda and wish away the fact that your body just won't work today. Don't you even talk to me on the subject of "giving up" -- not until your healthy not-even-30 self has paid some dues.
I never said it was always possible. For every one legitimate issue there is 100 woes me I'm injured people laying on their fat asses doing nothing. I'm not going to be politically correct just to make people feel better about themselves.

And for the record. I will continue to speak my mind. If you don't like it, don't listen to me. There is a method to block people who's opinions clash so horribly with your own.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:59 PM   #87
Buck
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Andrew Macdonald wrote: View Post
I have been checking through a few websites and something occured to me. There seems to be a large number of higher ranking sensei and shihan that are a little on the large side, no disrespect intended but it does raise a few questions.

does anyone have any thought on this
Does size matter?
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:35 AM   #88
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Sensei and size

I think like Don that alot of people have self imposed limitations or "excuses" for letting themselves off the hook, that are unnecessary. That is okay, as long as they are happy and it does not cause them discord or I don't waste my time whinning about it or asking for the "short cuts" to make things easier.

Heck, the TV is full of ads/infomercials for all kinds of "aids" designed to prey on that psychology. I like that new weight shaker thing! lol!

There are many, many of the masses out there that simply do not want to take personal responsibility for themselves and discover there own potential and/or happiness.

I think Budo is designed to help us discover this, plain and simple. So, I do, like Don, have a hard time understanding, sometimes how we accept this in Budo.

On the other hand, I have also learned, and I think that Budo is also about acceptance and self.

that is, I can only be concerned with myself, and it is okay to grow old, mature, degrade, break down and have limitations.

I think budo exposes these, can make the raw and apparent.

tolerance is also a key component of budo. Learning to look past the superficial and see something greater than what lay at the surface.

There are many large girthed individuals that have taught me alot and have alot to offer. If I only saw them or their physical size and health...then it would be my loss.

I think a big part of budo is looking much deeper....deeper past all this superficial crap and seeing the whole.

"To thine ownself be true"

also, i think it depends on the situation.

I have different criteria for who I let do what with me.

For example, many individuals I learn budo from, I would not accept or want on my "team" professionally as physical conditioning and well rounded abilities are life and death.

I've been fortunate to be turning 45 this week and still able to do the things I am doing. That said, I am in a young man's business and I can see my days coming to an end soon! I am enjoying the hell out of it though.

It also has shown me the frailty of our bodies and how we must care for them if we want them to be there for us.

I think Don's point is, if I may Don....

It is okay to have limitations as long as they don't become excuses and lies to ourselves.

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Old 06-22-2010, 05:41 AM   #89
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
You can skip injuries-that doesn't add weight
You can skip being sedate-that doesn't add weight
You can skip lack of training-nope...not there either.

It's by carrying food to our faces and putting it in.
No excess food...no fat.
End of story.

The rest; Healing up, taking care of yourself, getting good exercise, more training- that is for your health and well being. It has a side benefit that it uses more energy to do so, so we can carry more food to our face..and maybe some nice libations to wash it all down!
So cut back on training and exercise- cut back on intake.
More training and exercise-more food
Good food then becomes a reward instead of a requirement.
Cheers
Dan
My God...this is pure Genius! Sensei, I bow down to your wisdom, it is so, so profound...so clear, concise!

I've traveled far for someone to tell me the secrets!

LOL, the secrets are all right in front of us aren't they Dan! Creating a calorie deficit is all there is to it!

Hope all is well and thanks!

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Old 06-22-2010, 06:42 AM   #90
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Sensei and size

It’s not just food Dan, it is the right food for each person. I have learned over the last several months that even “healthy” food can be the wrong food for me. My body just did not use it and I did not know how to combine foods for the most efficient use and best use for myself. By changing the combination of foods, not eating less, I have lost 40 pounds and am working on the rest now. My recommendation is for folks even at my age (65) and older learn to eat the right foods in the right combinations. I also sought out a young personal trainer (brazilin jujitsu guy) who knows the stress I put my back under teaching Aikido to help me build core strength to support the infirmity left by a broken back 45 years ago with 5th lumbar vertebra on one side detached and several fractured ones and myasthenia gravis. Frankly people if you have never dealt with a neuromuscular disease like MG you have no F****** idea what you’re talking about.

Love ya all
Old Man Hooker

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Old 06-22-2010, 07:27 AM   #91
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Sensei and size

Something I wrote about 20 years ago I think. It amy give some filks a pause to reflect.

Polishing the Mirror and Grinding the Stone

by Dennis Hooker

It is very difficult to understand the motives of all the people we come into contact with in our training. We may misjudge someone's character or desire. We may be so caught up in our own abilities we look down on those we do not know or understand. Mostly this is done out of inexperience, not true malice.

Let me relate this story to you: Several years ago I had undergone severe surgery related to a chronic illness. I had been put on a medicine called prednisone, which caused me to gain weight, 160 pounds to 210 pounds in two months. My body would not respond to normal commands. My mental state was severe depression. I was ready to give up life. My students, some older than I with greater life experience, understood the danger. They knew my Sensei was teaching a seminar several hundred miles away. They chipped in and got me a plane ticket. One stayed with me on the flight.

They got me to the city and to the dojo. Someone helped me get dressed and onto the mat. I listened and watched as Sensei taught. Several times young Aikidoka came up and asked me to train. I politely refused. Several times I heard. "Why is he on the mat. If he doesn't want to train he should get off the mat. Who does this guy think he is." By the end I could only smile at these remarks, because I knew why I was there and how much I had gained. I know there are others of you that have experienced similar situations. There have been many times over the years that this type of situation has occurred with me.

Compassion, love and understanding will serve us well. Especially if we don't know what is going on around us. We may unknowingly, at any time, be witness to a life and death struggle. A kind word, tolerance, a gentle touch and the strength of our compassion may be the aspects of martial valor that are the key to someone's victory.

Some of us, given our physical condition, must train, metaphorically speaking, in the valley, or on the mountain. We are very seldom allowed the luxury of a plateau. When in the valley we seek to polish the mirror, and when on the mountain we grind the stone. In the valley we may lack the physical attributes necessary for vigorous training as defined by the "normal" martial artist. When we are in the valley, we are at a physical low point. At this time we polish the mirror of our inner self. A teacher being aware of the situation may structure the class so as to give necessary training to all students.

For instance, much detail may given to the attack so it is as physically correct as we are capable of doing. Good body posture and extension of energy and a solid foundation with a firm center are some of the things we are looking for, in our self, and those people assisting us in the learning process. The same thing applies to the technique being studied. A good deal of emphasis is placed on correctness and going only as fast as correctness, and physical ability, will allow. By doing attack and defense in this manner we can learn the proper technique. We can begin to polish the mirror of Aikido within our self. We work on the exactness of the technique until the realness of the technique is reflected in our heart and body, in our movement, and in the ability to harmonize with our partners. By polishing the mirror in such a way we become a reflection of proper technique, both as uke and nage. By being a good reflection of exact application we eliminate much of the danger involved with each technique. That is, we reflect the innate correctness of Aikido. I have often seen Sensei teach technique in such a way, in regular class and at seminars. I have often heard the young lions growl at such unrealistic training. I have seen some of the old warriors light up at being given the opportunity to polish the mirror a little more. This type of training has seen some of us through many a valley. It helps develop and prepare the body, mind and spirit for the ascent back up the mountain.

Back on the mountain we are now ready to begin the process of grinding the stone. Grinding away the rough edges of our ego that sits like a jagged stone at the center of our being, causing pain and discomfort to our life. Grinding the stone means to work hard and fast with our mind fixed on the task at hand. We can grind the stone in relative safety, providing we have spent sufficient time in polishing the mirror. As uke and nage we work together grinding off the rough edges. I give myself to you, and you give your self to me in total trust. I assist you in the grinding and polishing process. In turn, you assist me, and when we are finished we are smoother, happier and better for the effort. We continue to practice polishing the mirror and grinding the stone until the mirror of our spirit is a perfect reflection of true self and the surface of the stone is as smooth as the mirror. We are in harmony with ourselves and our environment.

So don't be upset if the techniques are hard and fast, or slow and exact. We should not be upset if we do not understand why techniques don't look like those we have become comfortable with. We should not be upset with other students whose motives we do not fully understand. But we should ask ourselves where does the true value lie in this training, because there is value in all training.

This is my way of training and it has been a process of necessity with me. It was a long time ago that Sensei taught me to take advantage of the valleys. When we are physically unable to grind the stone we must polish the mirror. We must work on those things spiritual and reflect proper and positive attitude. By doing this we will also be helping the physical side of our being grow. By polishing the mirror and working on those things spiritual we will find the physical growing stronger. As the physical side grows we can grind the stone.

Some people that have a great deal of physical prowess only grind the stone. They forget to polish the mirror, or just don't see the value of it. Others only polish the mirror, and see no value in grinding the stone. I say polish and grind for all your worth because you may lose the physical ability to grind, or the spiritual patience to polish.

I once asked an Aikido Teacher (who I considered to be strictly a stone grinder) why he did not work with people less than physically correct. His answer was that he was not a salvage worker. He took good people and made them better. I don't know when or why he changed but now his life's work is salvaging people who are outcast of society, and some quite dangerous.

If you have people come into your dojo or club who have some type of physical malady, please do not expect them to be less able than the other students. You may find that they do indeed have a good deal of strength and spirit. I have had students missing limbs, and students with various illnesses. They may be able to learn only a few techniques, but they understand the value of what they have learned. They can grasp the concept of polishing the mirror and grinding the stone, and they know when to do each. I have a friend who is an accomplished Karate teacher. He has an artificial ankle and steel rods where bone used to be in his leg. His knees are scarred from surgery. When I see him come to Aikido class and sit in seiza I know he has paid a price much dearer than that paid by most on the mat. Wearing a white belt and humble soul he comes to polish the mirror. He, like many we find on the Aikido mat today, spent his younger life grinding the stone. I would caution the young lions who show little tolerance for those who train differently. You may have a warrior standing before you. Compassion, love and understanding will serve you well.

O Sensei discovered Aikido for all of us, not just those of us who are physically correct.

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido
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Old 06-22-2010, 07:30 AM   #92
DH
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
My God...this is pure Genius! Sensei, I bow down to your wisdom, it is so, so profound...so clear, concise!
I've traveled far for someone to tell me the secrets!
LOL, the secrets are all right in front of us aren't they Dan! Creating a calorie deficit is all there is to it!
Hope all is well and thanks!
Hmm...
I appreciate the sarcasm and the dig as well. Sensei. Thanks

BTW, how does discussing; also learning something of value from people of larger girth, and then discussing the tacit discluding of them from those you would hang out with due to their readiness?
How and when did you change the subject to discussing worth in relation to girth?
Are we attaching judgement to the issue now? I wasn't.

But to go back to the simple point;
Lets see, all the people eating a balanced diet that matched their caloric output who are fat?
No?
Then what do we have left?
Excuses, (hell lets be nice and call them reasons).for eating too much.

Injuries do not make you fat...eating too much while you are sitting does
Nor does pain from diseases or inactivity make you fat...dealing with it by eating too much does.
The air you breath doesn't make you fat...but food will.
Sitting in front of the television doesn't make you fat either....but eating snacks while doing so will.
Nor does depression...but feeding your emotions will.
Nor does fighting a cronic disaese....And no Dennis we don't have to "F" ing understand pain to understand feeding it with food. Is there a reason you are swearing? I have a parapalegic relative who severed his spinal column in constant pain and facing challenges everyday with a mentally imparied child. He is thin... because he doesn't eat excess food.
Aging and slower metabolism? Eat less! get more exercise and you can eat more
No amount of excuses ameliorates the argument. There is one simple fact.....carrying excess food to your face.

Since I read all manner of reasons, aging, disease process, mood, And no one addressed the real root cause, I thought it pertinent to address. Is there a need to get sensitive about it?

I am balding, there is nothing I can do about that...I hear jokes constantly about my condition. Should I get sensitive about it? Maybe I should eat more food and then blame my weight on my emotional state...seems the popular thing to do.
Where is the levity here? I have plenty enough fat friends and relatives who make no excuses and are quite happy.
Boy oh boy!
Dan

Last edited by DH : 06-22-2010 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 06-22-2010, 07:46 AM   #93
Dennis Hooker
Dojo: Shindai Dojo, Orlando Fl.
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Re: Sensei and size

Dan "Nor does fighting a cronic disaese....And no Dennis we don't have to "F" ing understand pain to understand feeding it with food. I have a parapalegic relative who severed his spinal column in constant pain and facing challenges everyday with a mentally imparied child. He is thin... because he doesn't eat excess food.
Nor does any number of excuses for one simple fact.....
Carrying excess food to your face. "

Dan don’t get so defensive, damn! I should have separated the second topic from the first. It was not directed at you but to those inferring that we should just suck it up and move beyond. Did you read all of it? The prednisone does make one gain weight and sometimes it changes ones metabolism, ask anyone who has been on serious doses of that poison to keep them alive. And no you don't understand, it is not about over eating.

Could be about to much beer though :-)

Last edited by Dennis Hooker : 06-22-2010 at 07:50 AM.

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Old 06-22-2010, 07:55 AM   #94
Keith Larman
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
... Frankly people if you have never dealt with a neuromuscular disease like MG you have no F****** idea what you're talking about.

Love ya all
Old Man Hooker
Yeah, a bout with severe myopathy over a period months gave me a serious perspective adjustment about chronic pain. Those who live with it constantly... I don't know how they do it. Until you've walked (or shuffled at best) in those shoes it is tough to understand the drain, the beat down of being in chronic, severe pain. I'm not talking about not being able to train, I'm talking about not being able to wipe your own butt. Or literally unable to get out of bed without excruciating pain.

On the topic of food, there are a series of interesting lectures on youtube, some from UCSF, others from Stanford. Here's a list of videos that I've seen that I thought were good. And they're not always in agreement with each other which to me is a *good* sign of people doing good research. The sugar lecture is particularly controversial in some circles.

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

Obesity: Ten Things You Thought You Knew

Finally, a really good lecture from Stanford that is well balanced illustrating the complexity of it all.

The Battle of the Diets

Anyway, just trying to refocus on the issue at hand rather than the emotions...

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Old 06-22-2010, 07:56 AM   #95
DH
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
Dan "Nor does fighting a cronic disaese....And no Dennis we don't have to "F" ing understand pain to understand feeding it with food. I have a parapalegic relative who severed his spinal column in constant pain and facing challenges everyday with a mentally imparied child. He is thin... because he doesn't eat excess food.
Nor does any number of excuses for one simple fact.....
Carrying excess food to your face. "

Dan don’t get so defensive, damn! I should have separated the second topic from the first. It was not directed at you but to those inferring that we should just suck it up and move beyond. Did you read all of it? The prednisone does make one gain weight and sometimes it changes ones metabolism, ask anyone who has been on serious doses of that poison to keep them alive. And no you don't understand, it is not about over eating.
Cool, no worries. I am sort of kidding. That's why the winks and smily faces. I did want to offer that I at least am familiar with the issue through association and day to day witnessing of it, if not personally, but with a loved one. So good to hear you are getting some work done and losing weight. It's only going to lead to good places.

Prednisone is so beneficial...and so awful at the same time. My wife is very careful in prescribing it. But the swelling and retention is not the same as fat stored from food. And the topic is broader than single issues, isn't it. There is no relation to your disease process- to explain the state of tens of millions of overweight people. It's larger than you.
My sister had the stomach reduction surgery, lost a hundred pounds, and then put it all back on. I heard a never ending stream of excuses for why she was fat! Less food seemed to solve all of her issues. It was magic! Until she decided to start eating more. At least she stopped with the excusses now. She gets it.
So, I had my eye on the vast majority. "America is fat"...and so many are sensitive about it!

Also has anyone noted that no one discussed the inverse? How does getting in shape and losing weight positively effect ones emotional state? And why would that be the case in the first place?
The answers are really quite revealing.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 06-22-2010 at 08:10 AM.
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Old 06-22-2010, 07:58 AM   #96
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Sensei and size

Thanks Keith, good stuff.

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Old 06-22-2010, 08:13 AM   #97
lbb
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Re: Sensei and size

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Don Magee wrote: View Post
I never said it was always possible. For every one legitimate issue there is 100 woes me I'm injured people laying on their fat asses doing nothing. I'm not going to be politically correct just to make people feel better about themselves.
The term "politically correct" has become a meaningless, inflammatory bully stick that is used to try and stifle anyone with the nerve to criticize nasty behavior. It isn't helpful. But I acknowledge that some of my own reaction wasn't helpful either, so I'm going to try to do better.

This was a thread of generalizations from the get-go, with everyone in it pretty much leading with their prejudices -- literally, their prejudgments. An example was your statement that "[f]or every one legitimate issue there is 100 woes me I'm injured people laying on their fat asses doing nothing". Come on, Don -- you manufactured those numbers out of thin air. How is that helpful?

I think that you'd agree that rheumatoid arthritis is a "legitimate" problem, although I'm not sure what makes a problem "legitimate". Having a doctor's note? I'm not so sure. Physical conditions such as fibromyalgia were unknown twenty years ago, which is not to say that they didn't exist or that people didn't suffer from them. But that's a digression. So, I'm one of your hypothetical one percent with a "legitimate" problem. Without writing a rather lengthy essay, I can't really explain to you just why, or how much, your apparent take on the matter bothers me. I can't explain what it's like to be on the inside of this, or how much it angers me when people on the outside propagate their simplistic misunderstanding of a complex reality. I don't know which bothers me more -- being condemned as lazy and weak if I take a night off training because I can't walk, or being praised as an example of indomitable spirit when I train despite the pain. Either is a reduction of my reality into a simplistic stereotype. Either judgment is presumptuous, and I don't welcome them.

I question that one percent. It doesn't seem to me that I'm in a teeny-tiny minority. In my dojo, which is quite small, there is one other woman who was just diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. There is a man that has some other condition that attacks the joints and drastically lowers his red blood cell count. That's what I know of offhand; there may be others (certainly there are some pretty good cases of osteoarthritis). Our dojo has nowhere near 300 members in it. So, you may say, it was just an expression. It was just intended to give the sense of your perception of the relative number of "legitimate issues" to plain old laziness. But doesn't that suggest to you that your perception may not be matched by reality? And even if it were close, you're talking about human beings, you're passing judgment on human beings. If you're going to pass judgment and turn people into numbers, it seems to me that you owe people at least a more thoughtful judgment, and numbers that at least have some resemblance to reality.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:41 AM   #98
Buck
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Re: Sensei and size

Chiming in arbitrarily. I don't know, I think having a large sensei isn't an issue for us, if we had one, be it female or male. I think what might cause a concern is if the sensei was dangerously over weight. Thereby, putting the sensei at great health risks

Oh and I have seen heavy senseis move very well opposed to the conception of it being otherwise.

What you want from your sensei is knowledge. I don't think size, fat, thin, short, tall, and stuff has much or any bearing on that ability to teach that knowledge, or even lead, in the dojo.

Last edited by Buck : 06-22-2010 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:43 AM   #99
Keith Larman
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Prednisone is so beneficial...and so awful at the same time. My wife is very careful in prescribing it. But the swelling and retention is not the same as fat stored from food.
Cheers
Dan
Just a note on preds. At one point when I was in a great deal of distress it was almost magical how it helped. But while bloating and water retention are a side effect (and it goes away once you go off the drug) another well established side effect is increased appetite. For me it wasn't just "hmmm, I'm a little more hungry". In my case it was "Give me that cow. No, not the steak, the whole cow. *NOW*". Really incredible. Like an itch you can't scratch. Just voracious.

So yeah, a magical pill that's also a poison. So you have to choose. Is it the constant, debilitating pain? Or do I poison myself?

Metabolism, insulin sensitivity, environment, costs, health... Complicated brew.

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Old 06-22-2010, 08:52 AM   #100
Buck
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Chiming in arbitrarily. I don't know, I think having a large sensei isn't an issue for us, if we had one, be it female or male. I think what might cause a concern is if the sensei was dangerously over weight. Thereby, putting the sensei at great health risks

Oh and I have seen heavy senseis move very well opposed to the conception of it being otherwise.

What you want from your sensei is knowledge. I don't think size, fat, thin, short, tall, and stuff has much or any bearing on that ability to teach that knowledge, or even lead, in the dojo.
Opps....let me add that size would matters I guess, as much as anything else, if the sensei was depressed or unhappy, or anything along those lines with the weight. A resulting mental state could effect the sensei mental state that in turn effects teaching and the whole dojo. In retrospect, I don't think size doesn't matter, unless it is a health risk to the sensei mental and physical well being.
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