THE hip-shaking Japanese fitness fad of curvy dancing helped marathon runner Arata Fujiwara to qualify for the London Olympics.
Hiromi Kashiki, the creator of the popular dance style based on highly suggestive hip-gyrating movements, says Fujiwara, who visited her studio for a one-on-one workout the day before last month’s Tokyo Marathon, is a natural. “When I first saw Fujiwara, I noticed his pelvis wasn’t very stable,” she said: “I tried to make sure his pelvic area was more relaxed – removing wasted energy to release that explosive power.” Fujiwara said: “Up till now I’ve been really bad at using my hips effectively. After I got some lessons from Kashiki, my running style improved.”
The 30-year-old qualified for the Japan team by finishing runner-up in Tokyo with a personal best of two hours, seven minutes, 48 seconds.
Fujiwara left a marathon squad bankrolled by Japan Rail to go solo two years ago. He relied on donated shoes and trained in a Tokyo park. “Being starving, being hungry, was character-building,” he added.