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Old 08-25-2002, 07:55 AM   #1
erminio
 
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And what about fat men?

Hi guys, another thing: I'm watching some photos of Aikido senseis and students; I see many fat guys, and I wonder: what about their agility? Am I confused by movies or you don't need a good shape for Aikido or what? I have to admit that things like this make me a little doubtful about Aikido..

Thanks for your answers
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Old 08-25-2002, 08:21 AM   #2
Bruce Baker
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Depends on what is fat?

Can you roll forward and backward from a throw?

Can you kneel in seiza and stand easily, then kneel back into seiza?

When you stand on the fat guys/ gals belly is it hard like soil, or soft like water.

Skinny is not always a sign of skinny, sometimes muscles of youth turn into a pot belly or belly in middle age.

Try a class, and see if you like it. It should enlighten you to things you may want to use for other endeavors of work, play, and defensive skills.
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Old 08-25-2002, 08:24 AM   #3
rachmass
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Hi Erminio,

Often weight, agility, and fitness have nothing to do with each other. There are numerous cases of "overweight" people who are very fit physically, run marathons, participate in triatholons, etc. There are also lots of cases of very lean people who are tremendously out of shape! Please don't judge peoples abilities by their body shapes.

That said, often instructors don't have as much opportunity to train as others, as they are busy trying to help the students get better. It doesn't mean they were not in shape before. Aikido doesn't keep the weight off a lot of people. I used to train three hours a day, six days a week, and put on 60 pounds doing so. It took adding in lots of walking, running, weight lifting, and other aerobic activity for me to take the weight off (unfortunately 30 have crept back up because I don't do enough aerobic activity anymore).

As to agility; I know a fellow who is about 6'6, and probably well over 300 pounds. While I really don't want to be near him when he takes ukemi at a seminar (lack of space), he is an incredibly agile, quick and terrific aikidoka! I am sure other folks out there in Aikiweb-land must know of plenty of other examples.
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Old 08-25-2002, 09:15 AM   #4
rachmass
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"it gives the wrong impression to others about aikido"

??what is the impression?? That aikido is accessible to everyone? True, some people take aikido to get in shape, but if that is the main thrust, why not just join a health club? Aikido is so much more! I like to see people of various ages, body types, and yes, even fitness levels, out on the mat! Great for the fat guys who are out there trying to improve themselves! Our bodies are transient (every part of us is), and as we age, things shift, people get fatter, or thinner, or out of shape, or in shape. Please have tolerance for everyone out there trying to do their best.
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Old 08-25-2002, 09:42 AM   #5
SeiserL
 
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I was grateful to see "big" men with both ability and agility. I gave me permission to join and progress.

BTW, I always tell people that my size is the very least of their fears. ;-)

Until again,

Lynn

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 08-25-2002, 09:44 AM   #6
erminio
 
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Hi guys, this match with a thread of mine ("General " section): I'm thinking of starting Aikido to improve my agility and the control of my moves, mainly;well I wonder: if a guy, how could I see, a little over weight (I don't want to be unpolite, I apologise if it seems so), is a Aikido sensei, what does Aikido can really give to me?

Thanks a lot, have a good day

Erminio
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Old 08-25-2002, 10:13 AM   #7
rachmass
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How about a better attitude towards other peoples bodies? Really though, a lot of the teachers you see who are overweight trained very hard, were very fit in their heyday of training. Please be a bit more open minded about this. Are you looking to aikido solely to get in shape? If so, maybe you want to look into health clubs instead. Otherwise, do aikido, and take up some other activity as well to help you get in shape. Aikido will help you improve your agility and control of your moves. Weight isn't the issue here, it is the ability to move and be flexible (both in body and mind).

Best wishes on this venture, but please don't look at aikido merely as a weight related topic; it has so much to offer!
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Old 08-25-2002, 10:27 AM   #8
erminio
 
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Quote:
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
How about a better attitude towards other peoples bodies?
I'm so sorry.. maybe I couldn't explain myself well: I have no problems about other peoples weight! Sometimes I loose the control on the food I eat and I get weight; when this happens, this makes me feel slow and groggy.

That's why I wonder about practicing Aikido in the way I wrote.

I do apologise if I've been unpolite.

Have a good day

Erminio
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Old 08-25-2002, 10:53 AM   #9
DaveO
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If it helps, I can compare myself to my Sensei, Mike for you.

I stand 6'4", 205lbs. I'm 35 and, barring enough past injuries to earn a preferred customer card at the hospital, I'm in good fighting trim. I'm a retired Canadian Forces light infantryman, so I'm a good fighter.

My sensei is about 45, about 5'5", somewhat heavier than me. Rather round, but not at all soft. A big jovial santa-claus type of guy. He's about as strong (or maybe a bit more), but neither as fast or agile as I am. Trust me, on the mat, I don't have a hope against him; he's WAY too good for me. I know that, even though I haven't really tested myself against him; he has what I call the 'feel' of a fighter: that indefinable sense of power/dominance that powerful people have. Call it 'ki', call it force of personality, call it whatever you will. Whatever it is, I DEFINITELY wouldn't want to square off against him for real.

Dave

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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Old 08-25-2002, 11:54 AM   #10
wanderingwriath
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Despite the fact that body type has absolutely nothing to do with aikido maybe I can open your eyes a bit friend. It is a western notion that the ideal man has broad shoulders and slim hips with his center of gravity somewhere in his chest. Eastern people, especially the Japanese, think that is silly. Back in the day it was a common joking insult to say that westerners had "high hips." You see the Japanese believe that a man should have powerful hips and that is where the center of gravity should be. Sumo is their national sport for a reason. Your stomach is the house of your spirit to their minds. Hara is the Japanese word for spirit, but it literally translates to stomach unless I'm mistaken. To have a big spirit one must have big stomach. That's not to say that it should be soft, because that would denote a soft spirit.

That's my understanding anywho. Maybe Chris Li could elaborate for me. I've often wondered if I had that right.
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Old 08-25-2002, 12:03 PM   #11
rachmass
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Erminio, Thank you for explaining. It probably just got lost in translation and that is why it sounded like you were down on fat aikidoka.

James, your are right on in your assessment of the different body types. My sensei always said I had the perfect aikido body even though I am not limber or quick. It is because I am short, have wide hips, somewhat short legs, and a low center of gravity (and a somewhat wide girth). When I was skinny, I lost a lot of my power (but that also had something to do with not having gotten used to my new body). Now I am approximately 20 pounds overweight, have my center back, and my power back. It is interesting....
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Old 08-25-2002, 04:17 PM   #12
opherdonchin
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For many years, I followed a sensei who was (and still is) quite overweight. There is no question that I learned a great deal from him, or that he was a masterful, insightful, and powerful aikidoka. There is also no question that it changed and in some ways limited his AiKiDo. Now I train in a somewhat more athletic dojo (I didn't leave my teacher, I just had to change towns (and countries) for professional reasons), but I still find I need to do aerobic exercise to stay 'in shape.' This frustrates me, in part because it detracts from the number of hours I can spend training.

It doesn't seem to me that being fat (or, similarly, being old) gets in the way of great senseis being masterful at aikido or masterful teachers. However, I sympathize with Eminio's concerns about devoting himself to an art that will not necessarily keep you in shape.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 08-26-2002, 12:42 AM   #13
erminio
 
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Ok guys, I think I've got it; I guess that my opinion about MA was a little biased by movies..it's like X-rated stuff, not so real (not for everybody).. :-)

Thanks a lot

Erminio

It's what you do right now that makes the difference.
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Old 08-26-2002, 03:59 AM   #14
mike lee
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beer belly

I think being fit is a basic requisite for any martial art. Fat is hard to justify unless one is in denial.

That being said, I need to lose at least 15 pounds.
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Old 08-26-2002, 05:43 AM   #15
DaveO
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True; but I really think it depends on your point of view. If a guy (or girl) likes being on the well-rounded end of the scale, that's fine by me - I see no reason to justify it. Same goes if the same guy talkes aikido and becomes very good at it.

Dave

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Old 08-26-2002, 12:21 PM   #16
Cyrijl
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One must go and try a MA before one can decide the benefits for himself. I tried Aikido and at this point it did not work for me...so now i train at a different place. Sometimes one may want to take a certain MA so badly that he blocks out all of the negative...

My advice is to fine at least three different MA's around you...go and at least watch a class...and then try deciding. Don't decide based on movies or testimonials...maybe if you do not do aikido now...you'll come back to it...Aikido is not going away, so there is no hurry..

melior est canis vivus leone mortuo
Bog svsami!!!
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Old 08-26-2002, 03:00 PM   #17
erikmenzel
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Re: And what about fat men?

Quote:
Erminio Bonizzoni (erminio) wrote:
I see many fat guys
I am not fat, I am big boned!!

Erik Jurrien Menzel
kokoro o makuru taisanmen ni hirake
Personal:www.kuipers-menzel.com
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Old 08-26-2002, 09:52 PM   #18
Ben_t_shodan
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Re: And what about fat men?

Quote:
Erminio Bonizzoni (erminio) wrote:
Hi guys, another thing: I'm watching some photos of Aikido senseis and students; I see many fat guys, and I wonder: what about their agility? Am I confused by movies or you don't need a good shape for Aikido or what? I have to admit that things like this make me a little doubtful about Aikido..

Thanks for your answers
I am uh.. Big boned too and I have no more problem that some skinny Aikidoka. I cant say I don't have any problems but that's just my skill. It has taught me to be more proficient with my movements, that way I don't feel sluggish or anything like that. Aikido has showed my how to control my body (even the Jell-O like flab).

Fat dose not mean anything, I am in shape enough to be uke for a few dan testes.

Your uke

Ben

P.S. it just means we have bugger and better centers
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Old 08-27-2002, 12:59 AM   #19
Bronson
 
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I'm in shape...round is a shape

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 08-27-2002, 02:17 AM   #20
mike lee
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face the facts

Doing aikido when one is overweight, especially in hot conditions can stress the heart and lead to heart failure. I suggest that anyone who is overweight consider this fact, avoid going into denial, and try to lose some weight.

P.S. It's also a bad example for younger students to see a vastly overweight sensei. MA instructors should be an example of self discipline, not gluttony.
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Old 08-27-2002, 06:30 AM   #21
Hogan
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Re: face the facts

Quote:
Mike Lee (mike lee) wrote:
...It's also a bad example for younger students to see a vastly overweight sensei. MA instructors should be an example of self discipline, not gluttony.
Being skinny is an example of discipline ? Being heavy is not ? I know of many people who are overweight, but it is more because of low metabolism. I know of many skinny people, but they couldn't "defend themselves" out of a paper bag. I know a vegetarian person, who looks to be in shpe, but can't even finish a kyu test because the have no stamina. I know of a tremenodously overweight man who not only finished a dan test, but was a lot better than the "skinnies".

Lets stop making assumptions of people and their abilities, shall we ? Attitudes of the Aikido people here are really surprising me....
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Old 08-27-2002, 06:47 AM   #22
DaveO
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Re: Re: And what about fat men?

Quote:
Ben Doubleday (Ben_t_shodan) wrote:
I am uh.. Big boned too and I have no more problem that some skinny Aikidoka. I cant say I don't have any problems but that's just my skill. It has taught me to be more proficient with my movements, that way I don't feel sluggish or anything like that. Aikido has showed my how to control my body (even the Jell-O like flab).
Hee hee - makes the Ki test 'Unraisable Body' REAL easy for ya too, don't it!

Dave

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Old 08-27-2002, 06:48 AM   #23
mike lee
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obese

Quote:
Lets stop making assumptions of people and their abilities, shall we ?
I never made any assumptions about anyone's ability. I merely said being vastly overweight was a health hazard (a fact that I think most physicians would back me up on), and that it sends the wrong message to younger students (a point that I think most shihan would back me up on).

Last edited by mike lee : 08-27-2002 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 08-27-2002, 08:31 AM   #24
Jim ashby
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As a gravitationally challenged person myself (read the signoff) i went to my doctor for my yearly MOT. He looked at my weight (238 lbs)and then at his "ideal" weight chart. His quote was "according to this chart you need to lose 68 lbs. But looking at your muscle mass and lifestyle I'd be happy with 20". I would agree that starting Aikido as a greatly overweight person may cause problems. However there are beginners I train with that have been encouraged by the fact that there are some large grey-haired people that have reached Dan rank and still train vigorously.

Have fun.

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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Old 08-27-2002, 09:01 AM   #25
Hogan
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Re: obese

Quote:
Mike Lee (mike lee) wrote:
I never made any assumptions ...
Ohhhhhh I'm sorry - when you said, "MA instructors should be an example of self discipline, not gluttony" I thought you were making an assumption that being fat is a result of gluttony. That isn't always the case.

My comments are directed at all those, in general, who may have this bias.
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