The Indefatigable Indians
(featured in Masala Lite Magazine in November 2012, Thailand)
[For original click on link below]
Physically active Indians on their uncommon lifestyle choices, the sports they love, and staying motivated.
The Black Belt Businessman, Thanin Srisethi
This is what Thanin Srisethi’s typical week looks like: Aikido, Muay Thai, weightlifting—twice a week each and on top of his day job as the managing director of his own construction company. The super active Punjabi says he is the only Indian in his dojo (training centre) and has been practising regularly for the last 14 years, recently earning a second dan (second degree black belt) and aiming for a third dan. His interest in Aikido began when he watched an instructional video. His curiosity was further heightened by Steven Seagal movies—an aikido practitioner himself. Here, he discusses his fixation and those who ridicule him.—REENA KARIM
What is Aikido martial art?
Aikido involves controlling the attacker’s motion and redirecting it, either back into the attacker by means of joint locks or by projecting the motion outwards by means of a throw. It is not a static art, but places great emphasis on motion and the dynamics of movement.
When did you first start learning it?
I started training under Motohiro Fukakusa Sensei in January 1999 at the Renbukan Dojo.
What was the training like? Were there weapons involved?
Training has always been fairly strenuous. Training between one to two hours per session requires a lot of focus and conditioning. Through Aikido, I’ve had exposure to training with edged weapons, such as the bokken (wooden sword) and tanto (knife), as well as the jo (wooden staff).
Do you follow a strict diet or routine in order to keep fit for Aikido?
I believe that you receive what you give, or that output is directly related to input. We live in a world of cause and effect. I’m quite strict regarding my diet and routine. I approach it in a very disciplined and structured manner.
How do you juggle both your business and Aikido?
These days, I average about two sessions a week training aikido, two days a week of Muay Thai, and two days a week of lifting. Obviously, work comes first and all bets are off when it comes to work-related issues, but I always try to balance it out.
What does your family think of your involvement in Aikido?
I’ve been very fortunate. They recognised my desire to be committed to this activity and supported it completely. Back when I first started (in my early 20s), my father would allow me to leave work an hour early nearly every day to go train.
Have you ever been in a situation where people have laughed off your commitment to Aikido as a silly passion?
Of course I have. I never let it bother me. I knew what I was doing and that was enough. I didn’t really need any external validation where this was concerned.