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View Full Version : Very interested in Aikido, but have a few questions


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noelgardner
12-16-2009, 10:10 PM
Ok guys, I need a little help here.....I am 30 years old and looking to get started in Aikido

I have always struggled with flexibility, but the thought of doing yoga just does not appeal to me...I also find the spiritual focus of Aikido appealing

I also suffer from previous injuries in which I walk with a limp....This being said, I don't feel any pain from it, but it does limit my ability to kick, etc....I can probably kick as high as an average persons stomach, but that is about it

I suppose my question is....With the limitations I do have is Aikido right for me? Would any reputable sensei "Take a look at me" before I made an investment in Aikido training by seeing what my reaction to basic technique is?

I really don't want to give up on this, and any advice would be appreciated.

noelgardner
12-16-2009, 10:12 PM
I forgot to mention.....With the whole walking with a limp issue, I think my balance is probably below average....is this a deal breaker, or will balance come with proper training?

RED
12-16-2009, 10:19 PM
Your fine. Aikido training won't help you fight Nazis or win at internet blogging.... but it will help flexibility issues and definitely ballance issues. Suit up!

Brian Gillaspie
12-16-2009, 10:21 PM
I have a student in my class who has some nerve damage and has very limited, if any, mobility in his ankle so he walks with a limp. He has been training since August and has really came a long ways. Now there are some things that are more of a challenge for him then it is for others but he works through it or if necessary we find an alternative for him to work on.

I can't imagine an instructor turning you away because of a limp but
I guess anything can happen. It's just my opinion, but if someone turns you away then you are better off learning from someone else.

RED
12-16-2009, 10:27 PM
I can't imagine an instructor turning you away because of a limp


Any school that would do that isn't looking to expand anyways.

I have heard of weird non-affiliated schools, started by 3rd kyu giving themselves the rank of "Grand Shihan Wizard master 5th level Half-Orc Paladin", that claim they refuse to take "the weak" or "too many students". But they are obviously not exactly up and up.

I'm in favor of schools who are under a reputable federation,but that's just me.

Brian Gillaspie
12-16-2009, 10:44 PM
I've got young, old, short, tall, male, female, healthy, and unhealthy students so if your are willing to train you are welcome at my dojo....of course maybe my attitude will change once I become a "Grand Shihan Wizard master 5th level liger ninja samurai professor....."

Is Blue Springs pretty close to Kansas City? I know some guys who used to train in the KC area (I don't know if they still train) so if you have trouble finding a dojo just let me know and I can try to get ahold of those guys and see what they recommend.

RED
12-16-2009, 10:52 PM
.of course maybe my attitude will change once I become a "Grand Shihan Wizard master 5th level liger ninja samurai professor....."


Of course, it takes a lot of work to carry a title that awesome:cool:

Janet Rosen
12-17-2009, 12:45 AM
You'll be fine so long as you are in a supportive dojo and allowed to take your time. Slowly learning to roll and fall is the best way to gain balance and proprioception skills. Re flexibility, we each find our own correct balance between flexibility and strength as we proceed in our training.

Linda Eskin
12-17-2009, 01:01 AM
Here's a short post from my Sensei's blog on that very subject:
http://www.goldbergsensei.com/post/228109893/todays-so-desu-ne-moment

I came to Aikido with a history of some pretty bad vertigo, and ongoing chronic vestibular problems. My balance, core strength (for when I get off balance), and ability to function in spite of vertigo have all improved with Aikido practice.

Just explain to your teacher what your challenges are, and I'm sure they will help you learn to work with them.

Eva Antonia
12-17-2009, 02:45 AM
Hi,

in our dojo there are lots of people, me and my daughter included, who don't limp and still have enormous balance problems when doing tai sabaki (rotating movement) with or even without a partner....so you would be at even with lots of us; the balance you need in aikido is different from the balance you need for walking down a stair or whatever, and everyone begins from ZERO.

Best regards,

Eva

Dirk Hünniger
12-17-2009, 03:42 AM
Well in Germany there is at least one person who can not move his legs at all and doing Aikido, as well as at least one blind person doing AIkido as well. Certainly these people will have quite little chances to win a fight on the street. But they can still enjoy the training and their training partners enjoy practicing with them. I personally trained with someone who was not able to speak aloud and thus used gestures to communicate with me. I like practicing with him very much.

lbb
12-17-2009, 07:00 AM
Aikido is not flexibility training. If you train diligently and sensibly, and educate yourself outside the dojo about how to safely develop flexibility, your flexibility will probably improve somewhat, simply because active people who take a sensible approach have better flexibility than sedentary people. You shouldn't expect dramatic improvements, simply because flexibility as such is not really a goal of aikido training -- but it could happen, and if so, it's gravy.
While it can be argued that there is a so-called "spiritual" component in the history of aikido, it's very unlikely that there will be any "spiritual" aspect to your training. Your sensei will almost certainly not have any qualifications to teach meditation or other esoteric practices, or to speak with authority on spiritual topics, and will almost certainly recognize this and not go there. If this is an area that is of interest to you, I'd suggest a Zen meditation course if you're not interested in a particular spiritual tradition.
Typical aikido training doesn't use kicks or defenses against kicks, so lack of ability to kick is not an issue. Just go ahead and train.

dps
12-17-2009, 08:30 AM
Ok guys, I need a little help here.....I am 30 years old and looking to get started in Aikido

I have always struggled with flexibility, but the thought of doing yoga just does not appeal to me...I also find the spiritual focus of Aikido appealing

I also suffer from previous injuries in which I walk with a limp....This being said, I don't feel any pain from it, but it does limit my ability to kick, etc....I can probably kick as high as an average persons stomach, but that is about it

I suppose my question is....With the limitations I do have is Aikido right for me? Would any reputable sensei "Take a look at me" before I made an investment in Aikido training by seeing what my reaction to basic technique is?

I really don't want to give up on this, and any advice would be appreciated.

Aikido is not for every one.
There are plenty of people practicing Aikido with varying physical problems, myself included.
There are make it work with these problems.
You really won't know for sure until you try.
Give it a try for several months and see how it goes.

David

Shadowfax
12-17-2009, 08:40 AM
Just go find a a dojo, talk to the sensei and try it. If you have the desire then you can overcome the obstacles.

Welcome to the board. :)

Kevin Flanagan
12-17-2009, 12:35 PM
Noel,
Aikido training has the possibility of improving every aspect of your life. Try to remember that you are not there to become better than your partners. You are training to become better than you were.

Aikibu
12-17-2009, 01:12 PM
You cannot give up on something you have not started unless of course you're looking for excuses not to start...:)

I mean this with all due respect...get your butt to a dojo and do the best you can...You'll know in a very short period of time if Aikido is for you. :)

FYI I have a steel rod and bolts in one leg which is a bit shorter than the other...:)

William Hazen

ninjaqutie
12-17-2009, 05:41 PM
I say go for it. If you find a good dojo, they will be more then willing to work with you. Several students in our dojo have issues and they are able to train. Just be up front about your condition so they are better able to help you.

Andrew Macdonald
12-17-2009, 06:56 PM
everybody is saying the same thing but i thought i would add my 2 cents

the 'is this for me' question is asked by just about everybody and they throw up loads of different excuses, age, gender, time, healthy, family, distance, physical problems. a lot of the time they are looking for a way out 'it is for me, i really like it but......' becasue it is easier to have that reason than the reason of 'i just can't be bothered' or the likes

i admit that you problems are real but if they are not casuing you pain then they really are not worse than anyone elses, and it is no good reason not to do something or even not to try something once

one thing that i would say though and i would say this to anyone starting a martial art, the question 'is this for me' is usually and mask for 'will i be great at this' no one can really answer that question but everybody should manage expectation and take one training sesison at a time.

something i keep having to remind myself to do

....... speaking of physical problems, back in the day when i practiced, Tae Kwondo, we had a fella come along with a prostetic leg, (a fairly big fella), he managed very well, but could only really balance on his actual leg, which meant he only kicked with his replacement limp, it was akin to someone attacking you with a baseball bat. aaaaiiiiieeeeee those were some hard sparring bouts

OwlMatt
12-17-2009, 07:41 PM
I can't speak for every dojo, but mine wouldn't turn someone away over a limp. And there's not much need for high kicking in aikido.

Shannon Frye
12-17-2009, 09:08 PM
I can't imagine what you have to lose by trying - but can only imagine what you have to lose from not giving it a go. I have 2 students in my class with "different abilities". One is learning disabled, and another is blind. When they started, I was nervous that I would be able to transmit the same lesson to them as the rest of the class. There participation in the class has actually enhanced the learning experience (of my students and myself), as it's caused me to sometimes take a step back and look at techniques differently.

By all means - at least try. You have much to learn, and I'll bet much to share in return.

(And all that without a Federation...imagine that.)

Brian Gillaspie
12-30-2009, 04:47 PM
So did you get a chance to start training yet?

You mentioned that you are doing some work at Fort Riley. Kansas State University has an aikido club so if you are staying near Fort Riley you should be within 10-15 minutes of an Aikido dojo. I will admit I don't personally know anything about the club at KSU but it might be a place for you to check out.

eyrie
12-30-2009, 05:59 PM
With the limitations I do have is Aikido right for me? Limitations? You think you got problems? You ain't got nuthin on this guy (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=293)! The only limitations are the ones you set yourself. The only thing limiting you is you. Is aikido right for you? Is it right for anyone? As with everything else in life, you won't know till you give it a go. The corollary to that is of course, if at first you don't succeed... destroy all evidence that you tried... :D

You'll be fine. I don't anticipate you meeting such a tall adversary anytime soon, where you would have to kick above the level of your middle to whack em in the ghoulies. ;)

There's plenty of lower areas of the body where a well-placed kick wouldn't go astray... as I say to my kids, my boot is only a short distance to your backside if you don't do it.

ninjaqutie
12-31-2009, 11:00 AM
I forgot to mention before, In my old style we did a lot of judo like throws and there was a girl with one arm. She was able to have the throws adapted to her and she did just fine. We also had a kid who had some severe health problems (spine and other stuff) and he was able to build his way up to doing everything like everyone else. Just take it easy and listen to your body. Be prepared to be patient.

SeiserL
12-31-2009, 11:17 AM
IMHO, show up and train. You will either be limited by your limits or overcome them.

odudog
12-31-2009, 02:13 PM
Any good instructor and dojo/club will work with your limitations. I've been to a dojo where one student only had one arm and another person has a really bad foot, but that didn't stop them from learning. A good instructor will teach you to the best of your ability and test you on such, to demand more than you can give due to physical limitations is not right. Now, go train!!

Andrew Macdonald
01-03-2010, 08:53 PM
argue your limitations and they are yours :)

Eugene Leslie
01-05-2010, 01:42 AM
What he said!!!!

Michael Fitzgerald
01-12-2010, 04:35 AM
Ok guys, I need a little help here.....I am 30 years old and looking to get started in Aikido

I have always struggled with flexibility, but the thought of doing yoga just does not appeal to me...I also find the spiritual focus of Aikido appealing

I also suffer from previous injuries in which I walk with a limp....This being said, I don't feel any pain from it, but it does limit my ability to kick, etc....I can probably kick as high as an average persons stomach, but that is about it

I suppose my question is....With the limitations I do have is Aikido right for me? Would any reputable sensei "Take a look at me" before I made an investment in Aikido training by seeing what my reaction to basic technique is?

I really don't want to give up on this, and any advice would be appreciated.

Get into it mate.