View Full Version : Fitness

9th January 2002, 14:20
How many of you here are doing fitness in preparation for your budo?


Martin Leroy D

9th January 2002, 14:46
I currently train 6 times a week..Twice actually in my Dojo and the rest alternating between stationary cycling and high repetition weights and kihon (basics).
My current training times for each type of exercise is...Cycling-65 minutes, Kihon-20 to 25 minutes, Weights-15 minutes each day/session..this means that I train usually for almost two hours each weekday. Plus I have a half hour cycle ride into college before I can use the gym there and the same coming back home.
I am currently studying full time so I have the time free to do this but when I was working 9 to 5 I would train from 5 until 6.30p.m. so I guess it's become a habit.
It does help my Budo..certainly..and of course if you are fit you can perform better in any physical way than someone who is not.
So anything you find the time to do will benefit your training immensely. One word of warning though..Weight lifting can (if overused) lead to less flexibility and speed so it would be better to train for endurance,flexibility,and high rep muscle power in any exercise you can do. Also if possible it is always good to fit in extra training from your Budo as the body needs to adapt to the demands made upon it by training in budo and it is best to do this outside the dojo and learn the correct forms and new forms inside the dojo...It should not be the point of training in Budo to increase your fitness levels..That is a by-product of training. Get fit outside class and work on technique in lesson time to not waste your Sensei's (and your own) time.

9th January 2002, 18:21
Incorperating physical fitness is essential. Of course, you should be working aspects that reflect the art you chose. When I was studying full-contact karate, I worked a lot of gut, wind, and stamina conditioning. Now that I'm working more on the grappling aspect, I lift weights. In my opinion, there are only two exercizes that one needs to do: running and lifting. Of course, there are style-specific exercizes - things like neck-arches and wrestler's bridges that make sense in grappling, but not so much in striking arts. But wrestling and lifting are crucial. Just a few hours a week and you'll be amazed at how quickly you progress.

Josh Gepner

David T Anderson
9th January 2002, 22:07
Yes -- weights on a combo gym twice a week, 3 or 4 hours on a stationary bike [or on a treadmill...I haven't been using it much for a while], and a fairly vigorous abdominal routine. I also use a 'nutcracker'-type grip exerciser.

If I did Aikido 5 or 6 days a week, maybe it would replace the need for general fitness training, but as it is, the two days a week I go to dojo aren't enough.

10th January 2002, 06:10
Currently, I train in Shorinji Kempo three times a week, and go to the gym another three times a week to use the aerobike for stamina, and to do rep weights for overall physical conditioning. When I was in London, I trained four times a week, and went running in the park whenever weather permitted. (Everyone knows what London precipitation is like!)
We had a question like this about November last year. Try the archives for more details. Ben is right about over-weight training, but rep weights (rather than power lifting) is the way to go; it gives good muscle tone and definition, and doesn't affect suppleness or speed.

10th January 2002, 15:10
Well, I'm happy to see I'm not the only one who is training for fitness too. Of course, you must always keep in mind that your fitness must be practiced in regards to your budo training. Here is what I do: I go minimum 3 times a week to my aikido class. Every day I do not go to an aikido class (except the friday), I do a series of different push ups, series of different set ups and series of stretching exercices after. Saturday and sunday, I do shadow boxing (I did 4 years of karate). Saterday, I practice techniques on the makiwara. I do minimum 1 fight per week with other martial artists at schol (controlled fights). Finally, I reserve the friday for zazen.


Martin Leroy D
-"I do not fear the 10000 kicks you have practiced once; I fear the one kick you have practiced 10000 times."

10th January 2002, 15:18
Hi, Martin,
I have a question for you. Don't you find that makiwara practice stiffens your wrists, making them less supple for Aikido?

14th January 2002, 22:33
I dislike aerobic-based training programs, since they are biologically antithetical to power generation. My best recommendation:


It is designed to promote power, speed, strength, and size in people who are already actively training in another sport, and it works best if trained in with a group.

18th January 2002, 15:13
The best kind of fitness training for martial arts depends to a large extent on the nature of the art and the natural biological make up of the individual. For example, my body tends towards endurance rather than power (more type 1 than type 2 muscle fibres), so it's better for me to concentrate on developing power (in weight training terms that translates to medium weights, and short fast sets) as the endurance comes much more naturally.

Fitness training tends to be very specific - doing pushups will mostly make you better at doing pushups - so think carefully about the kind of fitness you need. If your training requires short bursts of high intensity with rest in between, then that's the best way to train. If you have to be able to keep up a moderate pace for a long time, then adjust your fitness work accordingly.

Strength training doesn't necessarily reduce flexibility, as long as you combine it with plenty of stretching.


18th January 2002, 15:39
I train at my dojo twice per week, one day for review, work bodyweight exercises three times a week for strength and endurance conditioning, and one day for rest. I'm a big fan of doing bodyweight exercises as an alternative to lifting weights. You don't need any special equipment and you can perform them anywhere.

One of the world's most talented athletes, Roy Jones, Jr., the light-heavyweight boxing champ, DOES NOT lift any weights yet he has devasting power and phenomenal speed to boot.

Check out these two sites to learn some great bodyweight exercise routines:



Well, that is my two cents folks.

Tyrone Turner
Queens, NY

17th February 2002, 08:57
I must recommend push-up stands! They allow you to drop your chest below the parallel and get a better stretch and a fuller range of motion in the exercise. They can take alot of stress from the wrists as well which can be a good thing (or not as the case may be).
They're cheap too.
Also if like me you're training alot on your own, sit-up bars a great - you know the ones that hook under a door.:toast:

David T Anderson
18th February 2002, 16:45
For Aikido, I find that a reasonably good level of aerobic fitness is fairly important...also stretching for flexibility.

I also do a couple of weight workouts a week, but they are more toning exercises that serious musclebuilding. I can bench my own weight tho'..[220lbs]. Aikido isn't supposed to require much strength, so I don't do as much as I used to...

19th February 2002, 21:17
My last grading in Karate really did me in, after the 4th Kata I could hardly breathe ! Then came the sparring, I thought I was going to die from exhaustion !
So I joined a gym and now do some cardio conditioning, mainly stair climbing and a bit on the stationary bycycle. Also I am doing a little weight work as well.
Nick Barrett :toast:

Seneca Rapson
25th February 2002, 08:24
Originally posted by fifthchamber

So anything you find the time to do will benefit your training immensely. One word of warning though..Weight lifting can (if overused) lead to less flexibility and speed so it would be better to train for endurance,flexibility,and high rep muscle power in any exercise you can do.

Actually, this has found to be false. If you train your muscles without first warming them up and stretching properly, this can happen, but this true of any exercise not just weight lifting (hence why most martial arts I know of starting with stretching). One world class body builder Tom Platz had massive legs (each one looks bigger than my body) and yet he can do full splits.

25th February 2002, 15:01
Weight lifting, if done properly, can enhance range of motion. Squats, lunges, etc. all put your legs through a full-range of motion, while the muscle has to maintain strength. My definition of flexibility is, "moving through a prescribed range of motion without losing strength". More dangerous to losing flexibility is running and bicycling, which are repetitive motions made for a long time with a very limited range of motion. However, I've often found that serious leg training and a good range of motion are synergistic to each other.

26th February 2002, 14:40
Hi all,
Following on from Mr. Bergstroms post...I am still undecided on this.
I know that many of the Koryu arts stress that there should be little time for 'warmups' before training and that the reasons for this are as outlined..It is NOT going to be possible to warm up before any 'attack'!
I believe that a moderate warm up is best before training..My thinking being that it is ALWAYS better to prepare for the outcome than not.
On the other side..Full splits I gave up on a while back..As essentially useless in most martial arts that have a combative base..I warm up well, but never need to perform kicks so high that I need splits to execute them..Indeed kicks like that are so 'unnatural' that in execution all you get is loss of balance at best and a firm slapping at worse!
To a degree also I think that a lot of flexibility is under control of your genetics..Some can stretch easily and others despite years of training will never get to the same levels..(Or just get bad knees!!)

27th February 2002, 13:28
I know that many of the Koryu arts stress that there should be little time for 'warmups' before training and that the reasons for this are as outlined..It is NOT going to be possible to warm up before any 'attack'!

I've heard this, but I doubt it is true at all. My experience in Koryu jujutsu (Kitoryu, a study group in the LA area in the early seventies) there was the problem of only having so much time, so it was required that we came to the dojo "warmed up." No, you won't usually be attacked in the dojo...unless it is a judo dojo, etc., but you don't work out in a dojo for real world combat, unless you have class outside a roadhouse bar 'round about midnight or so. Warm ups are a must. Get attacked, and strain or pull a muscle? That's a shame, but are you all right otherwise? Yes? Then rest that muscle, get some PA, or other type of treatment, it will probably go away in a relatively short time. When you get to fifty or so, it takes longer to heal, but the same rule goes.

I agree that in any grappling style, aerobics does little to adding to endurance. It may have made one more fit, but as in running, it made you a better runner, but it did nothing for your endurance in the dojo. Anaerobic excercise with limited weight can help a lot, but it doesn't require a trip to a gym or purchasing expensive equipment. You have empty cardboard boxes? Fill them with rocks or books, each having a different weight, and lift, using mainly the hips and shoulders. Need a wall moved over three inches? Go over and attempt to do it yourself. You won't get it done, but the use of the muscle masses to do it will help you improve, not only in muscle, but it is the single best exercise I've found for kiai...uuunsu... yyyoshhh[i]!

The worst thing you can do with the hands is to try to attempt to lift while gripping weights with the hands. Even today, I can't always get my hands to work correctly, sometimes not even for clicking the mouse. They will stiffen up even if the only work is gripping the clothing of others, after so many years.

There are better ways of doing so and you don't need a lot of weight. In grappling, it seems the hands are the first to go.

A little knowledge in this area of the past, generally will give you good ideas on what is safe, what works, and what doesn't. But don't ever assume I listen to myself. After 19 years of judo shiai, it all started to soften, slow down, and add pounds.;)


27th February 2002, 16:16
I agree with Mark completely. One of the problems I find is that during warmup, I'm still too stiff to jump high or stretch well (in winter, anyway), but thirty minutes into kihon, and I can do full forward splits and leap tall buildings in a single bound. (Well, not literally, but you get my point... :D )
Warmup is good, but it needs to be longer. At Shorinji Kempo hombu, where time is not a factor in training (nobody's going to come along and kick us all out after two hours), warmup lasts at least 40 minutes.
OTOH, although warmup is important, training is more so (we don't go to class to learn how to warm up). I guess the ideal solution is 3+ hours training each time, with at least 40 mins. devoted to warmup.
Opinions, anyone?

27th February 2002, 18:26
Fair enough, Kent. I think there's a difference in terminology here (yet again!).
By warmup, I specifically mean the period of exercise at the start of a training session. What you do at home is "ecercise".

25th April 2002, 03:06
Has anyone out there tried yoga? A few years ago I started as a way to become more flexible. In a few months, I found that I lost weight, added incredible strength to my legs and lower back, and found my stomach leaner than it has been in a decade or so. Overall my endurance increased, and I found myself sleeping and eating better. (Though sadly, I find myself wanting less beer and coffee.) I can tailor a yoga session to fit my day (8min.-1hr) or for a specific goal, ie flexibility, balance, meditation, etc. After years of zen and martial arts training, I have found yoga to be the quickest in terms of showing psychological and physical results.

Ted Taylor