Fat

Empty Hands

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About 4-5 years ago, I got my *** in gear. I went from not being able to run a mile to running a half marathon. I went from not being able to handle a round of fighting, to fighting for an entire class and loving every minute. I lost about 70 or so pounds, and I've kept it off.

Somehow, that didn't turn me into an *******. Guess what guys, fat people know they are fat. You don't have to be an *** about it.
 

shihansmurf

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About 4-5 years ago, I got my *** in gear. I went from not being able to run a mile to running a half marathon. I went from not being able to handle a round of fighting, to fighting for an entire class and loving every minute. I lost about 70 or so pounds, and I've kept it off.

Somehow, that didn't turn me into an *******. Guess what guys, fat people know they are fat. You don't have to be an *** about it.

I was an ******* before I got back into shape. Now I still am, I just happen to be a well conditioned *******.

:wink1:

Seriously, I don't go around poking fat people with sticks, but I also don't think that treating the matter with kid gloves is a good solution, especially if we are talking about students that you are responsible for being rotund. Round may be a shape but it sure ain't one you want to be in.

As martial artists, we are athletes. I am amazed every time I hear a martial artist rationalize a lack of conditioning. As instructors, I feel it is incumbent upon us to set a standard for physical fitness and live up to it. We also owe it to our students to make conditioning a major part of our training. I'm not saying that we all need to be top notch athletes or Olympic level performers, but man if you can't see your belt past your gut that is unacceptable. If you can't perform your systems requirements because your rolls of blubber get in the way, then maybe it is time to adjust the way you train.

I don't know if that makes me an ***, but if it does I'm oddly fine with that. See, I'd rather accept things as they are instead of sugar coating them. I took a hard look at myself( a lengthy process, I was pretty chubby), and I realized that through my own weakness I had allowed myself to become fat, out of shape, and lazy. All of those things are easy to do, our appetites are all to easy to loose control of, in fact they are all to ready to gain control of us, and I allowed them to do so. The struggle back to being in control of my eating hbits, my drinking habits, and my exercise habits began with the realization that every action I took was predicated with a choice. I chose each time I overate. I chose each time that I didn't hit the gym and plopped down in front of the TV instead. I chose.

Everybody chooses.

Every time.

Now, heres the thing that made it hard. After my third deployment I was diagnosed with PTSD. One of the ways it manifested for me was in compulsive eating. I snacked all the time. I couldn't help my self. Sunflower seeds were the worst of it. Losts of calories there when you goe through three bags a day. I would eat candy bars, chips, fruit you name it. Kept me busy.I did so unconciously. Oh, and soda. Coca Cola Classic. Two of the 2 liter bottles a day, plus a couple of cans at lunch.

Impressive, huh?Looking back I don't know how I only managed to gain 50 pounds.

Everybody chooses.

Every time.

It was an uphill battle, but when I made the choice to get back into shape I fought all that. Each time I wanted to eat that I hadn't accounted for, I had to fight a small war with myself. I lost a bunch of times. I won more often. Eventually I won most of the time. Now, I control my eating habits.

We all choose, no matter how difficult the choices are, we all choose. So I have a hard time feeling sympathy for the grossly fat that blame their weight problems off on anything but themselves and their own decisions. A sedentary lifestyle and gluttony are a deadly combination and all to common.

Still though, I would hope that should I begin back down that path that some one would be enough of an *** to get me back on track. All of the health problems associated with obesity, the way my karate suffered, my work performance(inasfar as pt goes) suffered, the bouts of depression, and how much fewer problems I have with my knee that has the pin since I dropped the weight are worth the trade of having my feelings hurt in the short term by someone that cares enough about me to show me the truth of things, no matter how unplesant.

One last thing, well done on the half-marathons. I've started training up and hope to be able to run my first one this fall. Well, providing my knee holds out.

Mark
 

jarrod

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i look like a smaller version of chuck libelly most of the time.

jf
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Since the thread was titled fat, specifically, I will comment on fat.

The overweight/underweight thing is technically different, since according to the charts, I am overweight at 202 pounds. At 6'4 and sporting a 34 waist, nobody confuses me for being fat or thinks that I am overweight, but according to the charts, I should be 180. In his prime, Schwarzenegger was also overweight (I have no clue what his current weight is). Dolph Lundgren is overweight. Ali was overweight.

Since muscle weighs more than fat, the same volume of muscle on you instead of fat will actually make you weigh more.

Technicalities aside now, on to fat. Omar stated that he is not a fan of fat. I am not particularly keen on fat myself. Fat people are okay with me. It is actual fat and what it does inside of the body that I am not a fan of. Specifically, increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Apparently, being fat is also a cancer risk according to some study I read last year.

So long as a person's mobility is not impaired, being fat will not prevent them from being good in a martial art. As some have observed, it may actually help in terms of absorbing impact or preventing a foreign object, such as a knife, from getting as close to one's vitals.

It is not until one gets into competative MA or a particularly demanding grading that it becomes an issue. In sport or competition, fat is the enemy. It inflates your weight without inflating your strength, it is counteractive to maintaining stamina, and it does slow you down, whether or not you realize it.

In self defense, being fat is not such an issue. Chances are that an encounter will end in less time than a single round in a UFC match. But for those that do not end so quickly, such as one that involves being chased for an extended distance or an opponent that just will not go down but cannot gain an advantage, it can potentially cost you your life.

Personally, I feel that a student should be taught accounting for what he or she currently is, not what they should be ideally. I do not start white belts out in kendo sparring nito ryu. Likewise, I do not expect a white belt to be a Marine Corp pushup machine, regardless of their weight.

Daniel
 

thetruth

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Just my 2 cents. If an instructor is fat well that is up to them. But they can't go preach the fitness benefits of their martial art when it clearly does not work for them. A little bit of weight i can deal but those that are really fat to the point the knot on their belt points at the ground or they can no longer see it then they should give it away. There is no excuse for someone to be that overweight in the martial arts unless that art is Sumo.

Cheers
Sam:asian:
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Just my 2 cents. If an instructor is fat well that is up to them. But they can't go preach the fitness benefits of their martial art when it clearly does not work for them.
I said essentially the same thing in another thread about blackbelt testings when this subject came up. If your literature touts the fitness benefits of whatever MA you instruct, you had better look the part.

A little bit of weight i can deal but those that are really fat to the point the knot on their belt points at the ground or they can no longer see it then they should give it away. There is no excuse for someone to be that overweight in the martial arts unless that art is Sumo.
Well, it depends on what type of school they are running. If they are running a fitness center with a martial arts theme, then I agree. But in all honesty, if they can perform the techniques and can communicate that ability to their students, fitness club atmosphere aside, being fat has no impact on their ability to instruct.

Sumo brings up an interesting point. I would not really want to pit my karate against a sumo wrestler in a competative environment unless it were strictly point fighting, and even then I would be very careful.

Sumo is one art where being fat is an actual benefit, but I do not see many sumo schools. Given the statistics about weight gain in the US, perhaps some enterprising entrepreneur should start trying to capitalize on it and start a chain of sumo stables.

Daniel
 

terryl965

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Originally Posted by thetruth
Just my 2 cents. If an instructor is fat well that is up to them. But they can't go preach the fitness benefits of their martial art when it clearly does not work for them.

here is one of my problems alot of football conditioning coaches are fat but yet they are able to preach about physical fitness and of course so many high physical fitness instructor are fat6 but yet they preach physical fitness, hell my cardio instructor at the gym has a mid section but yet he can run a marathon. I do not see the logic behind this, I know so many skinny people that cannot get out of the gate ina marathon.

Originally Posted by thetruth
A little bit of weight i can deal but those that are really fat to the point the knot on their belt points at the ground or they can no longer see it then they should give it away. There is no excuse for someone to be that overweight in the martial arts unless that art is Sumo.

Again I can only say I disagree, believe me I am fat but yet I can teach all the application and still get down and dirty when need be, am I as fast as yester year hell no but then again I am alot smarter and know what I need to do to get the beeter end of the stick.

Remember everybody is not into fitness but they maybe into Martial Arts alot. Two different aspect we are talking about.
 

geezer

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here is one of my problems alot of football conditioning coaches are fat but yet they are able to preach about physical fitness and of course so many high physical fitness instructor are fat6 but yet they preach physical fitness, hell my cardio instructor at the gym has a mid section but yet he can run a marathon. I do not see the logic behind this, I know so many skinny people that cannot get out of the gate ina marathon.

Is the fat football coach a stereotype or something? I didn't know. But the head coach at the high school I teach at is really heavy, and has been for decades. A cool guy and great coach. But fat. And it doesn't adversely effect his performance as a coach either. But I'm sure it's not great for his health.

The JV coach was even heavier. Maybe 450 pounds? Maybe 500? A textbook case of "morbid obesity". And he really struggled with it. Other members of his family had exactly the same shape. It has to be genetic, ...some aspect of their metabolism. There's no way most people could put on that much weight if they tried. After going through gastric bypass procedure, he's managed to control his weight some, but it's still a battle.

Now I'm basically not a "fat type". If I get overweight, it's pretty much because I'm indulging myself. So I berate and cajole myself back into a fitness program and drop some pounds. That works for me. But each person is different, and some of the finest human beings I've met have struggled with weight problems. Why do we, as a society still deride people with weight problems? It's not acceptable to go around criticizing folks with other kinds of health problems... so why do some people think its OK to dump on fat people?

Oh, and I know a lot of good martial artists who have weight issues. One is my instructor. He's still an awesome teacher.

Remember everybody is not into fitness but they maybe into Martial Arts alot. Two different aspect we are talking about.
[/I]
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Originally Posted by thetruth
Just my 2 cents. If an instructor is fat well that is up to them. But they can't go preach the fitness benefits of their martial art when it clearly does not work for them.

here is one of my problems alot of football conditioning coaches are fat but yet they are able to preach about physical fitness
Well, from a marketing perspective, if you are touting fitness as a primary benefit, it really weakens your pitch if you do not look the part and has nothing to do with how effective you are as an instructor.

Football coaches are hired for their ability to win games. The players have trainers who are independent of the coaches. The coaches preach about physical fitness because having physically fit players helps them to win games.

If obese players were more effective, they would tout McDonalds.

If skinny players were more effective, the defensive line would be composed of guys weighing less than 150 and the offense would all be 100 pounds a piece.

Obviously, neither extreme is effective in football, so you generally have a bunch of very strong, muscular guys, some of whom have a bit of paunch.

The coach's main attribute is his or her ability to inspire their players and to be a tactician, neither of which is dependent upon physical fitness.

and of course so many high physical fitness instructor are fat6 but yet they preach physical fitness, hell my cardio instructor at the gym has a mid section but yet he can run a marathon. I do not see the logic behind this, I know so many skinny people that cannot get out of the gate ina marathon.
You are confusing two separate issues. While being fat is bad for one's long term health, it is simply a single disadvantage when it comes to performing physical tasks.

The fact that your cardio instructor can run a marathon simply means that he has good endurance and has trained to a point where his advantages overshadow his disadvantages. Having said that, being able to run a marathon does not make him competative. I could finish last place and twenty minutes behind everyone else and say that I ran a marathon.

In any kind of race, weight is generally the enemy. There is a reason why jockeys are teeny tiny.

And jockeys are generally very fit. But they do not train to run marathons. Having been a competative cyclist and a cross country runner in high school, I can say that the training for each is specialized, and both are very different from training to race a horse. Thus a jockey may be fit, but not able to run a marathon.

Same with motorcross. A competative motorcross racer needs endurance and a degree of physical strength. But it is not the same as running a marathon.

Lastly, one of the guys that used to come to kendo class was an avid runner but had less endurance in kendo that I do. I have no doubt that he could outrun me; he runs regularly, was a high school track and field wiz, and was almost twenty years my junior. And he made me look fat, and that is hard to do. But he had never trained to fight with bogu and running does not require nearly as much upper body use as kendo.

Yes, he got better, but he never could outlast me. At the same time, one of our 1st kyu kendoka is definitely fat and a year older than I am, but he can nearly hang with me in terms of endurance and outlasted the runner without a problem.

Kind of a long winded post Terry, but I felt that you made some good observations that people with a weight problem can certainly have endurance and be very effective in an activity that they train in.

Daniel
 
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matt.m

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Hey Shihan Smurf, "Mental Weakness?" Not in all cases, some of us served our country, went into combat and had to do stuff you couldn't possibly fathom. "Mental Toughness" or any other popular catch phrase is so ridiculous and overused. Passing high school doesn't take mental toughness. Stretching and doing calesthenics along with physical therapy while dealing with 10 medications, hairline knee fractures that will never heal and coping with post traumatic stress disorder takes "Mental Toughness." I didn't get offended, I just thought you made a knee jerk statement to something you just don't fully understand.

Hey Bill, you served like me in the Corps. I understand and Semper Fi. I should be about 155 not 175. However, I am wearing 2 titanium leg braces from combat injuries, have a bad back from combat injuries. I was in from 92 - 97 and well ya know. So yeah I have had days when I comfort eat and have to call the vet hotline.

Yeah I know I need to loose 20 lbs but ya know, don't talk about being overweight as a "Mental Weakness" as a blanket statement like all and everyone their Smurf. That is just so weak.
 

shihansmurf

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Remember everybody is not into fitness but they maybe into Martial Arts alot. Two different aspect we are talking about.


Interesting point, but one that I have to respectfully disagree with the logic behind. Martial arts are physical. To say the you can be into performing martial arts and not be into fitness is like saying you can be into mechanics and not be into tools. The only way those statements can be true is if you contain your involvment in the martial arts or mechanics ti the theorectical.
When the actual physicality of performing the arts or doing mechanic work happens, then fitness matters as do tools, respectively.

Now, if you mean that a particular martial artist isn't into a fitness routine seperate from doing martial arts, then sure, I agree with you, but the aspects of physical fitness and skill performance are inseperable. You simply can't have one without the other.

There are different aspects of fitness, and different athletes will focus on different ones as suits their needs so comparisons between sports are only so useful, however I think that the football coach analogy is especially flawed. I hear i brought up a lot and it is invalid.

See, that coach isn't expected as part of his coaching duties, to perform the skill set well. He just needs to know how to coach football. There also isn't this additional baggage of touting the long term benefits, health and character wise, of playing football. Sure, you hear them talk about the life lessons of sportsmanship and teamwork, but the coach is still held to that standard. The coach, however, isn't stilll one of the athletes. As martial arts instructors, we are. In theory we always will be, so for one of us to preach fitness and be out of shape is to be a hypocrit, not for that football coach.

Again, different athletes will develop particular aspects of fitness such as speed, strength, cardio endurance, as dictated by the demands of their sport. We are no different in the martial arts world. Different arts require the development of physical attributes in different proportions to be successful. Most martial artists experince this development organicaly, through the routines performed in class. Some develop those attributes through supplimental fitness routines. It has been my experience that the most successfull performers are the ones that suppliment,although I have encountered an exception or two.

Mark
 

shihansmurf

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Hey Shihan Smurf, "Mental Weakness?" Not in all cases, some of us served our country, went into combat and had to do stuff you couldn't possibly fathom. "Mental Toughness" or any other popular catch phrase is so ridiculous and overused.

matt.m,

I am a professional soldier with three combat deployments since 2003. I have Bronze Star with a "V" device and two Purple Hearts. I have risked my life for my country, killed men in combat, and lost soldiers.

I can fathom quite a bit.

You may have been offended that I am a judgemental jackass because I hold people accountable for their physical fitness. I think that people are responsible for their actions. See, when people sit on their butts cramming food into their pie holes, they get fat. I'm sorry if this hurts your feelings.


Mantal toughness isn't a catch phrase, it is an accurate descriptor.
One last note, some us have served our country. Some of us went into combat and did some things that we would rather not have had to. In an earlier post, I commented on the fact that I was diagnosed with PTSD. One of its manifestations for me was compulsive eating. I worked through it. I used "Mental Toughnes".

Oh wait, I couldn't have since its just a ridiculous catch phrase. I guess instead what I should have done was to keep carrying around the extra weight and balming everyone but myself? Or should I have blamed my combat experiences, you know the ones that I could't possibly fathom?

I chose to take responsibility for my actions and fix the problem, you will I hope forgive me, as I think that other people have the same underlying strength to do the same. Patting them on the back and telling them its okay to put their health at risk because they can't control their appetites is unacceptable.



Mark
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Hey Shihan Smurf, "Mental Weakness?" Not in all cases, some of us served our country, went into combat and had to do stuff you couldn't possibly fathom. "Mental Toughness" or any other popular catch phrase is so ridiculous and overused. Passing high school doesn't take mental toughness.

Yeah I know I need to loose 20 lbs but ya know, don't talk about being overweight as a "Mental Weakness" as a blanket statement like all and everyone their Smurf. That is just so weak.
Mental toughness is a fairly general term, but one can be mentally tough in one area and be horribly weak in others. I know people who are incredibly, rigidly disciplined and definitely have a general mental toughness, but cannot resist select self destructive behavior.

One person I know cannot manage his money. He sees something cool and needs to buy it, always justifying it with some sort of rationale. Another struggles with weight, mainly because when he is hungry, he just must have chips. His wife has similar issues and I knew her when she was merely pleasantly plump. Now both of them are morbidly obese. It is due to two things: chips and world of warcraft.

Both of them are aware of their weight gain and the causes of it. Both know what they need to do to fix it. He actually started doing somethng and went from over 300 pounds to less than 250, and that was just dietary changes. He still does not get any exercise. She has severe mobility problems due to her weight gain (over 200 pounds and under 5'4 and small boned) and has to stop and catch her breath every five or so feet from the car to her front door. No exaggeration.

Both of these people are very disciplined in other areas of their life and certainly have 'mental toughness' in those areas. But they have a decided mental weakness in certain other areas, and unfortunately, that impacts their bodily health negatively.

Just like physical training, mental training is not all encompassing. There are different mental disciplines that one can strengthen and strengthening those in certain areas does not automatically translate to gains in other areas.

Daniel
 

JDenver

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To suggest that compulsive eating means that you are weak minded is to also suggest that a compulsive gambler, heroin addict, smoker, and alcoholic all lack mental toughness.

Addictive behaviour has nothing to do with your will or mental toughness.
 

Ronin74

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In regards to the topic of the OP, martial artists (like most of mankind) will come in all shapes and sizes. A person's height, girth, or any other physical appearance won't change how well they do their art. Please notice I'm referencing appearance and not conditioning. There's probably just as many out of shape, skinny folks as there are decently-conditioned big folks.

For myself, I could definitely stand to lose some weight. The demands of a recent job offer will need me to be in good shape, including being able to run for an undetermined time (sometimes having to carry extra weight). In those circumstances, I need to make sure I'm at a weight my joints can handle. However, that doesn't mean I need to be slimmed down like a fitness guru. It just means I need to be in good enough shape to do the job efficiently. And as far as unhealthy vices are concerned, I'll admit to a nice pairing of a good scotch and a medium to mild cigar.

As for the whole tactfulness thing, it's a tricky one to navigate. On one hand, we should all be able to state our honest opinions without fear of repercussions. On the other hand, it never hurts to demonstrate some measure of civility and tact. If we view our verbal skills in a similar light to our martial arts abilities, it's a GOOD thing to have a nice, well-kept arsenal, but it's a GREAT thing to know when to use it.

But that's just my opinion.
 

shihansmurf

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To suggest that compulsive eating means that you are weak minded is to also suggest that a compulsive gambler, heroin addict, smoker, and alcoholic all lack mental toughness.

Addictive behaviour has nothing to do with your will or mental toughness.

I'm not suggesting it, I'm outright stating it.

They all lack mental toughness, that's why they are addicts. They engage in habitual behavior that is self-destructive, and and they do so out of choice.

A drunk is a drunk because he elects to drink. No one if holding him down and pouring booze down his throat.

A heroin addict is an addict because they elected to use a substance and then now lack the will to endure the torturous process of getting clean. They are choosing which path to take.

Smokers smoke because they choose to continue to engage their addiction instead of enduring, like the above mentioned heroin addicts, the torturous effects of quitting.

Gambling addicts are weak minded fools that choose the thrill of gambling over everthing else of value in their lives. House payment? Not important.
Black Jack? Hell yeah!

What they all have in common is that the person makes a choice in everything that they do. You may not wat to hold people accountable for their actions, thats fine. Its better to keep them as victims, right?

See, in order to get better you have to admit that you have a problem, and that you can take ownership of your actions so as to break free of a cycle of self-destructive behavior. You can't do that if you are shifting the accountability away from the actor to the condition. Mental toughness and strength of will are essential for persevering through the horrific process of breaking addictions. It's how it works. It worked for my dad when he decided to crawl out of the bottle that he stayed in after Vietnam for 40 or so years, it worked for my peer that I came up through the belts with when she went through re-hab for cocaine, and its is how, under all the fuzzy language, all the twelve step programs work

I just don't soften how I phrase things.

Mark
 

shihansmurf

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Sumo is one art where being fat is an actual benefit, but I do not see many sumo schools. Given the statistics about weight gain in the US, perhaps some enterprising entrepreneur should start trying to capitalize on it and start a chain of sumo stables.

Daniel

Seems as though one could go into business with a chain of combination Sumo schools and bulk food stores. It would go hand in hand.

:wink2:

Maybe they could get sponsorship deals from Sizzler?

Mark
 

Bill Mattocks

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I'm not suggesting it, I'm outright stating it.

They all lack mental toughness, that's why they are addicts. They engage in habitual behavior that is self-destructive, and and they do so out of choice.

You're wrong.
 

JDenver

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I'm not suggesting it, I'm outright stating it.

They all lack mental toughness, that's why they are addicts.

Mark

We'll just disagree, which is okay.

I will say that psychologists, social workers and mental health experts will disagree with your assertion that addiction is due to lack of will. A mental defect cannot be overpowered anymore than depression or psychosis. Addiction is a disease. By the by, will is centred in your pelvis, which could lead us to an entire, massive thread on it's relationship to mental toughness.

As a side note, I've never met a morbidly obese person or alcoholic who wasn't a broken person.
 

shihansmurf

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You're wrong.

Outstanding post, Bill. Glad you could participate. Its always good to have people contribute somethings usefull to the discussion apart from declarations.

By the way.


I am right.

See, that was usefull. Notice how I supported my position? Awesome, wasn't it?

If you think I'm wrong, demonstrate it. My experiences the I've had have shown me otherwise. But please enlighten me. Just attempt to elucidate you position, cause you see, you simply saying I'm wrong doesn't make me so any more than my counter point makes me right.

This being a discussion board, try discussing the matter.

Mark
 
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