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05-18-2011, 09:41 PM
I am very interested in commencing training in Aikido. I have been training in karate for the last 4 years but have found that it is no longer enjoyable for me because of injuries sustained and also because I find myself no longer interested in the the ever increasing competitive and sporting nature of karate. I have read a little on Aikido and I think it fits what I am looking for; a non-competitive martial art that allows for development of body and mind as well as teaching practical self defence.
I know that age is no barrier (I am 43) but I am concerned however that some of the injuries I have sustained through karate training may stop me from taking up what I believe to be a very beautiful style of martial art. My major problem is a serious foot injury that has left me with permanent nerve damage and makes sitting in seiza very difficult. I also have some shoulder problems now which seem to be consistent with punching into thin air with full power. My doctor has suggested a different type of martial art where there is less emphasis on kicking and punching. At least he is not telling me to quit altogether! Also, as a long time diabetic I have started to develop some peripheral neuropathy in my foot and am concerned about the possible problems this may pose as I am led to believe that Aikido can be hard on the feet.
Is Aikido an art that can be modified to suit the physical limitations of the student or is it expected that a student would simply have to work through a technique or training regardless of how uncomfortable or painful it may be?
I am also amazed at the ability of Aikido practitioners to roll in the way that they do. I often think to myself that I could never do that given that I am of fairly large build.
Thanks for reading. I hope to learn much more about Aikido through these forums and hopefully will start training soon.
05-19-2011, 12:41 AM
Welcome to Aikiweb!
There are many of us who started training over 40, so that certainly is no bar. In terms of physical limitations it really is a matter of the individual instructor and the dojo culture he promotes, not a matter of the art itself.
There are people training very well who are missing limbs, are unable to see, have spinal issues, cannot hear.... But any given instructor may not welcome such a student; in your case, you might hear "doing technique from kneeling is traditional and you should work on developing your ability to do it" while another might say "just kneel to bow in, you can do everything else from standing"....
Full disclosure: injuries are not uncommon in aikido although there is a lot of variance dojo to dojo (as I found doing my survey on knee injuries). A common beginners injury while learning to roll is a shoulder separation; ie, a disconnection between the far end of the collarbone from where it meets the shoulder blade. So going slowly and at your own pace and with good teaching is super important.
I suggest you visit all dojos in reasonable distance and watch class and talk with the instructors. Each of us our own criteria and gut feelings and it's never a matter of "one size fits all" - hopefully you'll find a place that feels right!
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