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Muscles and Aikido

by Stanley Pranin

Aiki News #53 (March 1983)

The following article was prepared with the kind assistance of Natan Cheifetz.

Over the years of my involvement in Aikido I have, I suppose unconsciously, compiled mental statistics (could they be merely impressions?) regarding a variety of topics related to the art.

One of the recurring entries on my cerebral “scratch pad” has to do with the number of persons practicing Aikido who are physically quite strong. Some may have acquired their physical power through years of assiduous training, and perhaps some attention to diet, while others may have brought their physical advantages with them when beginning their study of the art.

I notice, for example, that the newest crop of deshi at Hombu Dojo are for the most part strapping young men who could seemingly hold their own even without any special budo training. One of the spinoffs of these individuals having such size and strength is the fact that they have an additional resource to call upon when performing techniques compared to their less endowed counterparts. Also, many of the well-known Japanese sensei are quite powerful (and often overweight by normal health standards). 0-Sensei, too, as a young man and well into his sixties had a very muscular physique which he obviously used to his advantage in developing Aikido.

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