Aikido and loosing weight

From: "Karl A. Van Sycle"

On Mon, 1 Jul 1996, Paul Miner wrote:

> Will Aikido help me physically?
> I am about 100 lbs overweight at 6'2" and 289 lbs. My waist is 48". > If anyone has had experience with physical improvement, particularly > weight loss, would you please share your experience? > I am aware that eating habits must also change.

When starting Aikido last fall I weighted 275 lb. (a beg-your-pardon to all the non-US readers of the list! We Americans are a stubborn bunch aren't we?) Between Aikido and almost daily cycling to school I am down 230 lb, and loving it. Ukemi is easier and endurance is higher. Dietary changes have been mostly in the *amount* I eat, we love our tex-mex here in south Texas! I don't think Aikido can be solely relied upon as a means of weight loss, doesn't get your heart rate into that aerobic target zone long enough, randori being the possible exception! <g> On the other hand, to permanently lose weight requires a lifestyle change, I can't think of a better place to start the change than with Aikido. anyone for jennycraig undo?!?

From: Hal Davis

Paul, my specs are similar to yours, except that I apparently have a heavier build than you (I'm 6'2" and 285 pounds, but a 43" waist, and I consider myself 70 pounds overweight. I'm also 43 years old). Aikido did turn a little of my fat into muscle, but it's not normally a vigorous workout. You'll get more of an aerobic workout if you find a group that does a fair amount of newaza (ground wrestling) which is a part of some clubs' curriculum, and not of others. Certainly you can do some good warmups that will get the ol' pump pounding (I'm thinking of "shrimps" whereby one slithers across the mat using stomach muscles, back muscles, and arms and shoulders to drag onesself across the mat).

But back to regular Aikido. It doesn't tend to be a vigorous workout, although falling down and standing up fifty times in an hour will get the attention of someone who has had little exercise lately.

After I had been doing Aikido about 6 months, my wife thought I had lost some weight. I remarked about it to my sensei's sensei (I think the term is ryu-ha: the head honcho of a ryu or system of martial art). He said that frequently girlfriends and wives (sorry, this may be sexist, but it is what he said) remark at about six months training that the guy has lost weight, even when he has not lost any. Grace, carriage, posture, and confidence increase so much that one appears to have lost weight.

Paul, I think we've corresponded before, and you're in the Dallas area, right? Our ryu's school in Carrollton is headed by Tim Vought Sensei who is 6th dan in Shorin Ryu karate, and 2nd dan in Jiyushinryu aikibudo (Aikido). He teaches both there. Is that the school you're talking about? I practice in Lewisville with Russell Waddell, who is 4th dan in Jiyushinryu aikibudo, 2nd dan in Judo, 1st dan in another ryu of Okinawan karate, and I believe he's also ranked in Jodo (the stick that's about armpit high). I know he has also studied a few other arts, including iaido, but is not ranked in them.

As far as getting a gi and obi, it's best to talk to your instructor. Some instructors get huffy if you buy any martial arts equipment anywhere but from them, because they want to make a markup on the product. Others may be less interested in the markup, but prefer a certain "look." That is, there are bleached white gis and there are natural (kinda manilla folder) gis, and some folks want to see a sea of bleached white when they instruct. Also, even if your instructor doesn't much care about markup or uniformity, he may have definite opinions about quality/value, he may have bulk purchase discounts he can pass along, and he may be able to let you try one on before you buy it (difficult to do via mail order).

I've been quite satisfied with a double-weave bleached white HSU gi I got from sensei in size 7 (I believe they also make size 8). I was quite surprised at how low a price he was able to get it for me. I've spent more for mediocre single-weave gis.

From: John Malcolm


I weight 400 lbs and was able to have Bu Jin company custom make a gi. There did a very good job in a short amount of time. You might also ask around the local dojos to see if anyone makes gis in the area.

For weight loss the primary exercise needed is aerobic. However us big folks tend to not move a lot and we become stiff. then when we want to move we are more prone to injury. Aikido will help your flexibility if you practice enough so that you can do other activities safely.

The main thing with weight is to not associate it with character. The reason folks are heavy begins with genetics not lazy or emotionly hungry.

I would also seriously question that you are "on hundred pounds overweight". Overweight is an almost irrelevant term. What needs to be examined is your ratio of fat to lean. A local YMCA will be able to do an impedence test to determine this ratio for you and a good weight for you. The old Metropolitan Life Insurance weight to height tables are only the grossest of tools to use and are suspect at that. I would refer you to Covert Baily's books particularly "Fit or Fat" and also to the book "Fat Is Not a Four Letter Word".