Out of Shape "Masters"

Bob Hubbard

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Aug 4, 2001
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I have to ask....why does it seem that the more I look at some of the "founders" or "leaders" of various well known systems (no, I'm not naming names), they tend to be quite obviously out of shape? I don't mean a little paunch around the middle as old age sets in, I mean Budda like.

I mean no disrespect but, how can someone who is a leader of an art, who I presume is activly training, allow themselves to "puff-out" like that?

And what happens to their credibility when they do the seminar circuit?

I do martial arts to get in shape...good healthy shape...not round...i'm there now. :) Just hard to be inspired sometimes, I guess. :(
Originally posted by Kaith Rustaz
I have to ask....why does it seem that the more I look at some of the "founders" or "leaders" of various well known systems (no, I'm not naming names), they tend to be quite obviously out of shape? I don't mean a little paunch around the middle as old age sets in, I mean Budda like.

At the last George Dillman seminar I attended he used precisely that phrase ("Buddha-like") and stated that it was to protect the lethal pressure points just under the rib cage that are attacked by upward blows under the floating ribs.

I am somewhat skeptical of this answer.
I do like that line. Do you really think people will buy it however ? Kinda insulting. You know I have seen many people who will never be "cut" or have that typical inshape look as genetically it's impossible for them. My first Kali Instructor was like this. Infact due to it I thought twice about training with him, until I saw him move. To this day he is unreal. He will aslo do as many conditioning Thai rounds as anyone else.
Just the way things are. Look for reality in their movement
Some are fat but have done this for so long they have been able to keep up with others just based on learning how to do the stuff so well they don't need to be in shape.

Some are just fat and lazy and coasting on prior accomplishments.

You decide.
Its just that we base so much on initial impressions. The "fat" guy may move like lightning once he gets going, but how many folks walk in, see a "fat" guy, and leave, unimpressed?

I've trained with individuals who definately know their stuff, and are "out of shape", but sadly, I still wonder if the art is that good, why aren't they in better shape? I dunno...just, not inspired I guess. :(
Arnisador -

One of the funniest things I've read in a long time!! And I'm sorry to disagree with you IFAJKD, but no one has a genetic beer gut! Now, some people will show 4 abs with a washboard, some 6, some people would have to go to extreme measures to get "ripped", but no one hangs over their belt due to genetics.

I also agree with Gou, that it is not necessary to be a physical speciman to be a great martial artist. However, if it's your full time job, I would think you would try to be presentable.

My wing chun teacher was about 6', 300 pounds, and a baad man, but maybe he'd still be around if he kept his weight down.
Thats my point...its 1 thing if you do it part time, as a hobby, but when youre the founder of a system, supposedly training hard, doing the seminar circuit, its another thing totally. A little paddings fine, but looking like youre about to give birth to twin sumo's???? GAHHHHHH!!!!!!!


Well, I hear ya but I do believe that there is a genetic factor. Some people have thicker lower legs due to heart problems and some people have an impaired metobolic rate that doesnt burn fat and carbs effeciently. Having worked with and lived with (wife) an exercise physiologist, we have discussed all of these things. eating disorders (over eating type) that are not genetic but psychological etc. there most certainly is a genetic factor for many. No not the beer gut ones, obvisously not. You can see the ones that are. I try not to be too judgemental about some of these people. Then again as I stated earlier, they really can be surprising.
These guys working the eminar circuit may seem to have it real easy, but think about it really. You plan a seminar, there goes training time, they have families so plan the seminar has to come out of training time instead of family time. Then there is sitting around in airports waiting for flights, thats more training time wasted. The flight takes time, usually a meal or 2 in travel with out any time to burn it off. You need time to rest when you arrive. Then it is time to do the seminar, followed by an opulent meal, do you work off that meal. No you have a few beers to wash it down. The next day it is back to the airport to head home or to the next seminar. Travel really takes a lot out of a body and a work out is not always a reality when a person is on the seminar circuit.

I think we try to turn thes e Senior Martial Artists into more than they are. They are men and women just like the rest of us. They are also a little older than most of us. Let us see how often we want to be out on the floor when we hit out late 50's early 60's. We can all say that I will alsways want to be on the floor, but realistically we have no idea what our lives will be like when we are at those ages. These guys have paid their dues, they are out there for us. It is wrong for us to be disrespectful to them because of their weight.

I say if a person has a real problem with the size of one of these guys let them say it to that persons face.
Rob...spunky reply... I like it. No kidding the seminar stuff is a real drag. I can only imagine how it would be at their level. One kool thing stening to Dan Inosanto. Look at him and he is in better shape now than when he was 30. He said he attributes this to ground fighting. Man he just gets better and better. when training in a sensitivity art you just get better and better rather than more and more crippled from all the intense contact stuff. Dan would say that he can't fight a great 10 round anything but today he can fight the best first round he ever has. He and many others will have my respect.
I got no problem with fat guys but a fat guy at the front of the class yelling for me to get a move on when he can't even do what he's asking me to do just ain't right.
Gou I agree, I don't mind the Big Guys. But one stuffing a ham down his throat as he tells me to working harder, toasts my nuggets. I respect these big guys that go out do the stuff right along with ya. The other guys ain't worth the time. There are also so thin guys who do the same thing but for some reason no one gets on their case.
See, I understand about the challenges with travel...but I also know most hotels have a gym. Or if you're staying with a friend or associate, I'm sure you're welcome to an extra half hour at their facilities. I dunno...I can give em the extra couple of pounds, but I've seen a few folks...ick..the 1 guy was very obviously over the 350# mark....it wasn't an image that inspired me. I understand the paying of the dues, old age, etc. But still...when I hear of guys like Buddy Rogers (pro wrestler) who was still in ring shape in his late 70's... it shouldn't be too hard (I think) for a 40ish MA guy to not look like a sumo.

Then again...I may be letting my visual sence prevent me from an excelent learning experience. :(
A little of the thread, but after 1 seminar with Burton Richardson, we took him out to an Italian place to eat. He had his own salad in a tupperware bowl, with a bottle of fat free dressing in his bag. Must come from life in California. ;)
When I was in a hospital sponsored hotel when my daughter was sick, I still found time to use their gym. Unfortunately, the WaveMaster bag they had wasn't a good idea on the top floor of the building. Every time I kicked that thing, it's echo throughout the building. Not only did I get to keep in shape a bit, it helped put my mind off seeing my baby girl with all those wires and tubes sticking out of her.

I seem to recall Bruce Lee being asked about aging. He said something to the effect that, when he was in his 60's or 70's, there wouldn't be another 60 or 70 year old that could touch him :)

I agree with the others on here who've basically stated that how large a person is doesn't matter as long as that person can perform. Now, if an instructor is sitting in a lounge chair and expects me to do some strenuous workout while he's eating a tub of Cheetos, he's got another think coming. However, I've seen plenty of big fellas who could put a mean hurting on me. Basically, I give them the benefit of the doubt. If they can put up, I shut up. If they can't put up, then they'd better shut up :)

back to my usual babbling
No disrespect to anyone here but ....

Would you be talking in such a way if said "Over Weight Masters" were part of the membership?

Until you walk in someones shoes, I don't think you should be so disrespectful. :shrug:

I happen to know one of those "Over Weight Masters", and I hope he never sees this string. (I won't be informing him) I wonder how willing any of them would be to assist people on these this or any forum, if they did.

But then again, it is very much your right to speak your mind and that I do respect.
I honestly mean no disrespect towards any of them. I'll be the first to admit, I know nothing of their situations.

I guess what really bothered me about the 1 individual, is I saw pics from 10 years ago, and he was in great shape...now, he really looked sad, and it bothered me.

I know from experience that looks are deceiving...my Wing Chung Sifu could run rings around me despite giving the appearence of being out of shape. I wish I could track him down as I was finally enjoying martial arts again when various situations (my eye surgury for 1) caused us to lose track of each other. :(

I had this fat little tai chi teacher a few years back who moved quicker than I can follow (all that video game eye training considered). He was like lightning...just very Budda like in shape. ;)

And..in all honesty..I know how hard it is to drop a few pounds when you have a hecktic schedule and poor eating habbits.

If they were to visit, and say to me "you don't understand. Theres reasons, and they are good" I'd say "I understand. I forgot the Tao". But if they just got that way because they got lasy, or complacent, I don't think I'd have the same feeling.

I'm human..I want my teacher to be the best, always. To be Superman. Sometimes, you forget they are human too.
I think there are a few of us who haven't really said anything terribly negative. Basically, if that person, like anybody else, can do the stuff, it doesn't matter.

I do see your point, though...there have been some rather negative comments.

For understanding my point. I doo understand there was no true disrespect intended. More just a matter of thinking through what you are putting on a "Public Forum", for who knows to read.

I would like to add though. Is it a matter of the Master being able to "do" what he "teaches"? Is it not a matter that he can "teach" good quality skills and techniques? Can a football coach go out on the field and rumble with the big boys? I would say the majority can't. Even boxing, some of the really great coaches, uses other more experienced students to give examples while he "tweaks" the skills to perfection.

Circumstances in an individuals life changes day to day. Who's to say what the reason for a persons decline, as long as they continue to teach "Good Quality Skills".

But then again that's just my opinion, I do tend to be biased on the subject. :asian:

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