Overweight Karate Instructors

mathemajikian

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So, I've been to a few dojos in my area, and I’ve noticed that a lot of the instructors are extremely overweight. When they demonstrate techniques they look really bad and, horribly unbalanced; however, some of them seem to have a lot of martial arts experience/knowledge. Many of them have actually lived and trained in Japan! I've seen photos of these instructors when they were younger, and I would have loved to train with them then, but now that they have let themselves go I'm sort of wary. So, what do you guys think? Can an overweight instructor teach you to be a good martial artist or will the fact that they can no longer walk the walk effect the training you’re receiving?
 

Master Dan

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I think you should get on the matt with them attack them all out any way you like choose any weopon and get back to us on that if you learned anything??

Our American Diet is at best self medicating? But also the higher knowledge level that does not require older men to no longer need to do more athletlic moves which were meant for alot of reasons including keeping the young busy tends to let them slip into doing less aerobic training. I think also the prevalence in our culture of no longer having respect for age and experience kids thinking that MA must be either gladiators fighting in cages like dogs or flying in the air arrogantly thinking they have nothing to offer tends to make some just give up?

Its your loss not thier's if you choose to judge based on superficial values from an imature and ingnorant value base
 

Blindside

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I am sure that old fat karateka might be dangerous, I am also pretty sure that if I took that same Old Fat Karateka and paired him against his clone Old Fit Karateka, my money would be on the old fit guy.

And if you are selling an art that is advertising how it is good for getting you in shape and the level of discipline it will instill, maybe the instructor ought to be able to demonstrate that is his own life.
 

K-man

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My first instructor was as lean as a whippet. My next one was stocky. His successor was greatly overweight and my last one was positively obese. They were all very light on their feet and they all could handle their kumite. All these guys had good martial art knowledge, in their own style, and they all were competent teachers.

Would I want to be extremely overweight? No. But that is a lifestyle choice, nothing to do with my training. If I was obese, I would be more concerned with my health than my ability to teach. :asian:
 

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So, I've been to a few dojos in my area, and I’ve noticed that a lot of the instructors are extremely overweight. When they demonstrate techniques they look really bad and, horribly unbalanced; however, some of them seem to have a lot of martial arts experience/knowledge. Many of them have actually lived and trained in Japan! I've seen photos of these instructors when they were younger, and I would have loved to train with them then, but now that they have let themselves go I'm sort of wary. So, what do you guys think? Can an overweight instructor teach you to be a good martial artist or will the fact that they can no longer walk the walk effect the training you’re receiving?
The above speaks for itself. That said, sure you can learn from an overweight sensei, but, for their own good and the good of Martial arts, they should stay in shape. The way you describe it above, they need to get a grip...............
 

UKS

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My second teacher was overweight when I started with him and he could move quite well and could spar just fine and his balance was very good. I think that being over weight is a life style thing, I think that you can still find a very good teacher even though they are over weight.

I agree for the health of the instructor and for the good of the martial arts they should try to be in good shape and take care of there body.
 

Aiki Lee

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I don't think wieght has anything to do with skill or teaching ability, but if someone is not pushing himself to be at his best how can you expect him to push others to be their best?
 

Tez3

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So, I've been to a few dojos in my area, and I’ve noticed that a lot of the instructors are extremely overweight. When they demonstrate techniques they look really bad and, horribly unbalanced; however, some of them seem to have a lot of martial arts experience/knowledge. Many of them have actually lived and trained in Japan! I've seen photos of these instructors when they were younger, and I would have loved to train with them then, but now that they have let themselves go I'm sort of wary. So, what do you guys think? Can an overweight instructor teach you to be a good martial artist or will the fact that they can no longer walk the walk effect the training you’re receiving?

So, where are you based? I can't imagine that all the instructors are morbidly obese, we don't have that many instructors here. If you can say where you are I can probably recommend somewhere where there's normal sized instructors! Note, I'm basing this on your 'American in UK' location
 

Carol

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So, I've been to a few dojos in my area, and I’ve noticed that a lot of the instructors are extremely overweight. When they demonstrate techniques they look really bad and, horribly unbalanced; however, some of them seem to have a lot of martial arts experience/knowledge. Many of them have actually lived and trained in Japan! I've seen photos of these instructors when they were younger, and I would have loved to train with them then, but now that they have let themselves go I'm sort of wary. So, what do you guys think? Can an overweight instructor teach you to be a good martial artist or will the fact that they can no longer walk the walk effect the training you’re receiving?

Train with someone who is not overweight. A student who cannot check their issues at the dojo door does often does little more than bring the class down and take away from the students who genuinely want to be there.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
 

arnisador

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I too would say give the guy a shot...everyone moves differently, and two thin, fit people won't fight the same way anyway. Maybe he can train you! Would you say this, after all, about fat football or basketball coaches?
 

rainesr

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So, I've been to a few dojos in my area, and I’ve noticed that a lot of the instructors are extremely overweight. When they demonstrate techniques they look really bad and, horribly unbalanced; however, some of them seem to have a lot of martial arts experience/knowledge. Many of them have actually lived and trained in Japan! I've seen photos of these instructors when they were younger, and I would have loved to train with them then, but now that they have let themselves go I'm sort of wary. So, what do you guys think? Can an overweight instructor teach you to be a good martial artist or will the fact that they can no longer walk the walk effect the training you’re receiving?

I have had instructors who had hip replacements, knee replacements, damaged vertebra, one was also very old and I think they taught well even with those limitations, so I think someone extremely overweight could as well.

That being said, unless there is a medical or life altering issue, a teacher who is so obese that they can't perform the things they teach raises a red flag. Why would a person choose a lifestyle that completely hinders their ability to practice something they apparently love or enjoy so much that they dedicate themselves to teaching and sharing it with others? It is not their expertise that would come into question but the mindset that got them into that situation.


~Rob
 

harlan

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I have to admit, I traveled to a seminar in the South a few years ago and was shocked. It did seem that the seniors in attendance, for whatever reason, were seriously overweight and out of shape. After observing the training and eating of the group for three days, I really think that the weather and American diet has a lot to do with it.

So, where are you based? I can't imagine that all the instructors are morbidly obese, we don't have that many instructors here. If you can say where you are I can probably recommend somewhere where there's normal sized instructors! Note, I'm basing this on your 'American in UK' location
 

Bill Mattocks

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There is no single model that describes all martial arts instructors. Being fit doesn't make one a good karateka, nor does it make one a bad karateka. Same for being young, old, fat, thin, or anything else.

As Master Yoda says, "Judge me by my size, do you?"

When a new student says something amazingly stupid, it often sounds something like "But he can't possibly teach good karate," right before their butt hits the mat and they discover that old, fat, short, bald karateka can surprise the all-knowing newbie.

I am just a student myself; I have only been training going on five years now. However, my Sensei asks me to help instruct newer students from time to time. I love the jaw-dropped look they get on their faces when I demonstrate a block and counter by having them throw at my face (after persuading them to REALLY THROW), then brush-blocking it, stepping in, and stopping my backfist return a quarter-inch from their eyebrow. Or when we do light sparring and I slap-bock their punches and land light taps on their foreheads at will, despite the fact that they are younger, faster, in better shape, and have better reflexes than I do. The difference between us is only training, and it gives me the edge; decidedly.

And what's even more fun, when we do a dump out of wansu and by George, I can actually dump these buck-fifty feather-merchants. Don't strain yourself trying to dump me, it's not going to work.

That is not to say that there is anything good about being out of shape, fat, or otherwise unable to perform the karate properly and effectively. But quite often, we judge with our eyes and we should be using our analytic skills instead. We decide that someone is 'good' or 'bad' at karate based on their obi size at our own risk. I know a number of young, fit, sensei in my area who teach a hodge-podge art of largely ineffective skills that look good in tournament and nowhere else. Is that really your criteria for a teacher?
 

Tez3

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Depends what you consider overweight as well, if you are a fan of stick thin girls for example then you'd consider most women to be 'overweight' compared to them. If you are looking for abs of steel a la pro MMA fighter you probably won't find many of them either outside professional fighters gyms and even then don't be surprised if you find what you think is overweight fighters there too, someone I know was considered fat and yet turned out to be a good fighter.
http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Rob-Broughton-10924
Judging a book by it's covers isn't a good idea :lookie:
 

MJS

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I've seen some guys who were big, yet despite their size, they could move and they had stamina. On the flip side, Ive also seen the opposite...the big man, who's stamina sucked, despite being able to throw fast, hard strikes. It's a no brainer that many in America are over weight. However, it's pretty sad, if the overweight inst, is having his students exercise, yet they can't do 20 pushups. Furthermore, if the workout in and of itself is intense, then unless you're ok with stopping every 10 secs to catch your breath, then just by the process of working out, you should start getting in better shape.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I've seen some guys who were big, yet despite their size, they could move and they had stamina. On the flip side, Ive also seen the opposite...the big man, who's stamina sucked, despite being able to throw fast, hard strikes. It's a no brainer that many in America are over weight. However, it's pretty sad, if the overweight inst, is having his students exercise, yet they can't do 20 pushups. Furthermore, if the workout in and of itself is intense, then unless you're ok with stopping every 10 secs to catch your breath, then just by the process of working out, you should start getting in better shape.

We exercise for the first 20 to 30 minutes of every class; stretches and calisthenics. When I started, I had to take a break in the middle of it. Now, no problems. We do 100 pushups and 100 crunches, 50 side crunches, jumping jacks for 2 minutes, etc, etc. I can go about 30 pushups - good pushups - before I need to do the rest from my knees, and I keep getting better. And that's for a guy who is 51 years old, 5-10, and 245 (as of last week, down almost 20). The crunches are no problem - I was nearly the boot camp champion at situps (115 in two minutes) in 1979 and I can do crunches all day long. Under my belly fat, my stomach muscles are like iron bars. Fear my punch, it stings. FYI, we've got some younger guys who are lighter and appear to be in better shape; they can't do what I do. We've also got some (OK, a lot of) guys who can run rings around me, I'm far from a model specimen.

I do not have the stamina I'd like, but I do keep working on it. I had it for awhile a few years ago, then let it go again. At my age, it's a constant struggle, not something one gets and keeps without effort. So yeah, the stamina part isn't good yet. It's a process.
 

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We exercise for the first 20 to 30 minutes of every class; stretches and calisthenics. When I started, I had to take a break in the middle of it. Now, no problems. We do 100 pushups and 100 crunches, 50 side crunches, jumping jacks for 2 minutes, etc, etc. I can go about 30 pushups - good pushups - before I need to do the rest from my knees, and I keep getting better. And that's for a guy who is 51 years old, 5-10, and 245 (as of last week, down almost 20). The crunches are no problem - I was nearly the boot camp champion at situps (115 in two minutes) in 1979 and I can do crunches all day long. Under my belly fat, my stomach muscles are like iron bars. Fear my punch, it stings. FYI, we've got some younger guys who are lighter and appear to be in better shape; they can't do what I do. We've also got some (OK, a lot of) guys who can run rings around me, I'm far from a model specimen.

I do not have the stamina I'd like, but I do keep working on it. I had it for awhile a few years ago, then let it go again. At my age, it's a constant struggle, not something one gets and keeps without effort. So yeah, the stamina part isn't good yet. It's a process.

At my current Kyokushin dojo, we stretch on our own when we get there. For the beginner classes, we do a quick stretch in the beginning, and then a more intensive one at the end, along with the pushups, situps, squats, etc. When I say quick, I'm talking 5min. The advanced classes contain no stretching. You do that on your own. When we bow in, we get right into it.

Stamina...LOL...after all my time in other schools, I thought I was in good shape. Bill, when I started at this dojo, I made it roughly to the 30min mark, if that, and I was sucking wind..lol. Now, compared to some of the BBs at this school, as well as those that've been there longer than I, their stamina is 10 fold, although I must say that in the year I've been there, I've noticed a big improvement, as well as a big weight loss.
 

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So, I've been to a few dojos in my area, and I’ve noticed that a lot of the instructors are extremely overweight. When they demonstrate techniques they look really bad and, horribly unbalanced; however, some of them seem to have a lot of martial arts experience/knowledge. Many of them have actually lived and trained in Japan! I've seen photos of these instructors when they were younger, and I would have loved to train with them then, but now that they have let themselves go I'm sort of wary. So, what do you guys think? Can an overweight instructor teach you to be a good martial artist or will the fact that they can no longer walk the walk effect the training you’re receiving?

The above speaks for itself. That said, sure you can learn from an overweight sensei, but, for their own good and the good of Martial arts, they should stay in shape. The way you describe it above, they need to get a grip...............

Hell most of the Okinawan sensei I have met were stocky, but, it didn't effect what they did and how they did it.
The op statement above eludes to the fact that the extra pounds were not kind to the sensei techniques. This is what I focused on when reading the op, and what I feel should not be over looked in lieu of simply having extra pounds.
I have seen skinny sensei with bad balance/bad technique and the same holds true for them, skinny or overweight, can't hack it, ain't getting my money........ And that's a fact.
 

arnisador

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Often a bigger instructor knows how to use his weight effectively--builds it into his fighting style.

But there's no excuse for bad technique.,,adapted, maybe, but not bad.
 

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Unfortunately the public sometimes has this perception that a martial arts instructor is supposed to have the body of Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris (in his prime :) ).

In judo for example, many instructors are retired from competition and aren't the physical specimens they once were... Our head club instructor is coming up on 60 years old and has had several back surgeries. He is just happy living a day without pain somewhere in his body.

Get to know the instructor and see what he/she has to offer you in the form of knowledge. Remember that they are a teacher and not a model for Black Belt Mag or Men's Fitness :)
 
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