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Simon Lai
06-22-2012, 01:43 AM
Greetings,

I am Simon Lai.

Been lurking at this website for a while. I signed up for to ask a specific question:

And it is definitely not does aikido work type of question.

Here goes:

I have been active in the martial art for a long long time, starting with krotty during childhood days to judo (in Uni-days) to Aikido. Aikido is something I stucked with the longest, reaching 1st Dan. The school of Aikido I practice is Yoshinkan. It is also something that is closest to Budo that I felt and I truly enjoyed it.

I stopped aikido 10 years ago. During this 10 years of inactiveness, I started a family, started a business, failed my business, became an employee all over, took weekend studies to earn a professional accountancy qualification (CIMA - rather proud of it actually).

Today I am a freelance business consultant and work time is more flexible, I wish to regain some work-life balance. I actually longed to be back in the mat again, dishing out pain and punishment to all and sundry.

Problem is, across this period of time, I also gain one stone of weight, huge pot belly, turkey neck and lost my fitness. I basically can’t even do a couple of break-falls without panting and the thought of doing a full kote-gaeshi ukemi or a hip throw ukemi is nightmare to me now.

So my question is, should I or shouldn’t I? Or should I just let go of my little mid-life fantasy and stick with golf like most of my business associates? I am 40 this year.

Simon

Shadowfax
06-22-2012, 03:39 PM
Yes. Start over. Be a beginner and don't worry about taking hard ukemi right now. Maybe even try out a different style than what you did before.

I got started at 39 with no prior experience, over weight and bad knees... that was three years ago. No regrets yet.

robin_jet_alt
06-22-2012, 05:21 PM
Yep, start up again, and take it at your own pace. Start from white belt again so you don't get embarrassed.

Janet Rosen
06-22-2012, 07:40 PM
Yep. If you go the alternate route of taking up exercise you hate in order to get into better shape first, you may well never make it back to the dojo.
There is no shame in sitting out some parts of class because you need a break. There is no shame in limiting the amount or type of ukemi you do because of either a temporary or permanent problem.
Let a slower, gentler approach to training allow your body to regain flexibility, suppleness and coordination...

Helle Buvik
06-22-2012, 08:38 PM
Well.. seeing as where you are asking the question, it's predictable what answer you will get (Of course we think you should start training again! silly question really) it's also obvius what answer you consciously or sub consciously want. So I agree with everyone else, do start again and just take it slow in the beginning and dont compare what you can do now to what you could do then. Train and have fun!
Helle

Sandra York
06-22-2012, 08:58 PM
Hi Simon,

Remember how much fun it was to help new people? Remember how much fun it was to BE new?

Come train. What's the worst that could happen? From your experience on and off the mat, sounds like you have more than enough ukemi skills to protect yourself.

Lucky you to have the time to share! Seriously, bring it on, turkey neck! :-)

Sandra
(blushing mid-forties mudansha)

GMaroda
06-22-2012, 11:28 PM
Do you want to? Then do it.

And I have you beat at 13 years between stopping and restarting. It was fine. And it's still fun.

Just go! Have fun!

Mario Tobias
06-23-2012, 05:23 PM
As they always say aikido is like riding a bicycle, you don't really forget how to ride one. Especially that you've attained Dan rank.

Your fantasy is just a ride away to the dojo.

graham christian
06-23-2012, 05:50 PM
The fact that you have been reading things on this website for a while and now asking the question seems like inside you already know the answer.

Go for it, you'll love it. You may even be pleasantly surprised;)

Peace. G.

Basia Halliop
06-23-2012, 07:15 PM
Yes, do it! :). I would say just don't go in expecting to be able to immediately continue right at the level of ability you left off; you may be disappointed or injured (the latter especially if you find your body remembers how to do things it isn't yet in shape to do safely).

IMO, you can't go wrong thinking of yourself as a beginner at least in some ways (esp physically). Then you'll be happily surprised by just how much you can do.

Helle Buvik
06-23-2012, 08:04 PM
Definitly what Basia said. I've stopped and restarted horseback rideing every few years since i started it nearly 20 years ago.

Every time the problems I've had have been in my body remembering how to do something, but not haveing the right kind of conditioning any more to do it. and everytime I restart I am at a much lower level than when I last quit, BUT I start again at a slightly higher level than I started the last time. and it's only a matter of time and training for me to return to my previous level.

And it's fun to start anew again too as it's a differnet way to learn. At first it was skills that my body picked up, and that could just do then I learned the why and hows intelectualy and it was hard for a time to do it right, and then it become easy again and a skill I understand how works in a much more personaly aware way.
With horses, I find that this helps me a lot with the more difficult ones. I may not be able to ride perfectly, but due to starting and relearning it several times I'm a lot more aware of my own limitations, and those of the horse in a way few people that has never relearned rideing are. Not only do I know what I know, I've also learned what I dont know and can't easily do at each stage in my learning.
And relearning it has been as fun every time as it was the first time I learned it, and less frustrating because atleast I know the theory and how to correct myself a lot now.

When you start again i'd love to hear how you find it compares to the first time you learned and did aikido.

Abasan
06-24-2012, 01:24 AM
You don't carry a golf stick with you everywhere you go, but Aikido is something you have every second that you're alive. Obvious choice to me...

Walter Martindale
06-24-2012, 05:06 AM
Only 40?
That's how old I was when I started Aikido.
Lots of years ago.
Try going back to Aikido - you might like it. Give it a few weeks to get over the DOMS you get when you start back at any physical activity (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). When you start, take it easy for a few weeks, too - your body needs some time to re-condition...
If you decide you don't want to continue, make that decision AFTER giving it a fair go - again, of at least a few weeks, and preferably a few months.
W

Lyle Laizure
06-24-2012, 01:14 PM
I had a couple of co-workers say to me the other day how much they wanted to try martial arts. This is a routine statement I hear regularly and will generally dismiss it and go on about my business. In this case I ask, "Are you serious?" Their response made me laugh. Emphatically they stated how serious they were and wanted to come it etc. I think it was a Wednesday when this conversation took place. I told them the next class was Friday. "Oh, I can't make it this Friday I already have plans." I laughed and said the following class would be Monday. "Oh, I can't do it Monday. I already have plans." I said "I thought you were serious." It has been 2 weeks and still no visit. One is older, maybe 50 the other probably mid 20s to early 30s. I too will be 40 this year. I will still take the high falls when I get the opportunity. I too get winded quickly. Although I have been acitve in the martial arts I am by no means 'in shape.' We are limited only by what we allow ourselves to be limited by. Take it slow, at your pace.

lbb
06-24-2012, 06:43 PM
I had a couple of co-workers say to me the other day how much they wanted to try martial arts.

Yeah, this is a lot like people who look at a talented musician and say, "Gee, I wish I'd kept up with piano lessons." What they mean is that they wish they had the skill without the work, the time and the inconvenience. It's incredibly silly.

LinTal
06-25-2012, 01:55 AM
Do you think there's anything there that has any probability in improving your life? If yes, yes. If otherwise, choose something else.

Life's too short to be paralysed by indecision. Too rare to not chase and perfect. It's also too precious to be wasted, so find the emotional/physical/spiritual/(whatever) standards that you'd like to live by and evaluate this option against it.

lbb
06-25-2012, 08:54 AM
If you want to do it, and have the time for it, then do it.

phitruong
06-25-2012, 09:34 AM
So my question is, should I or shouldn't I? Or should I just let go of my little mid-life fantasy and stick with golf like most of my business associates? I am 40 this year.

Simon

don't do it. stick with golf. why leave the comfort of the easy life to put in sweat and pain for what? with golf, you can do whenever you like, having fun with your buddies, hanging out at clubs, checking out chicks, and enjoying the good life. aikido just isn't for you. don't do it.

Stephen Nichol
06-25-2012, 07:51 PM
don't do it. stick with golf. why leave the comfort of the easy life to put in sweat and pain for what? with golf, you can do whenever you like, having fun with your buddies, hanging out at clubs, checking out chicks, and enjoying the good life. aikido just isn't for you. don't do it.

Good thing we all know you Phi and your need for sarcasm, at least I hope that is what I read in that post. I hope it was not lost on Simon.

Simon,

Better to go back and find out than to always be looking over your should wondering 'what if'. Never live life that way.

Like others have said: just take it easy. You are starting over again. Do so completely. Let go of everything you 'think you remember' and let it slowly come back to you. Do not struggle with what is taught to you and what you 'feel you remember', simply appreciate the 'variations' of techniques and methods. Just enojoy yourself and do your best.

Janet Rosen
06-25-2012, 11:47 PM
don't do it. stick with golf. why leave the comfort of the easy life to put in sweat and pain for what? with golf, you can do whenever you like, having fun with your buddies, hanging out at clubs, checking out chicks, and enjoying the good life. aikido just isn't for you. don't do it.

Hey, golfers get to wear even weirder clothes than we do.... :D

Simon Lai
06-26-2012, 05:25 AM
Yes. Start over. Be a beginner and don't worry about taking hard ukemi right now. Maybe even try out a different style than what you did before.

I got started at 39 with no prior experience, over weight and bad knees... that was three years ago. No regrets yet.

Yeah, be a beginner all over again, sounds good. If there is an Iwana style school I would jump at the opportunity in a jiffy, I heard their weapon work is more extensive than most other school. I would love to get more exposure to weapon work.

Subconciously I want to restart, but I am concern about how my body will take it....

I shall enter the dojo once again with much trepidation... Just like how I felt when I first put on my dogi, many many moons ago.

Simon

Walter Martindale
06-26-2012, 07:00 AM
I'm with S. Nichol. Try it.

If you like it, stay (or not, but you have information on which to base the decision).

If you don't like it, don't stay (or do, but why?). Either way, you have information on which to base the decision....

I'm 58, and the only reason I'm not training regularly is lack of dojo - so I ride a bike, row a machine, occasionally row a boat, and think about Aikido... My back was healthier during the 17 years of Aikido between starting and moving to where there's no dojo, than it was during the 10 years before or the 15 months since.

lbb
06-26-2012, 07:03 AM
Subconciously I want to restart, but I am concern about how my body will take it....

Why are you concerned? Do you have some medical condition that makes you believe that training would be a problem? Being a little bit out of shape isn't a medical condition.

NagaBaba
06-26-2012, 08:11 AM
So my question is, should I or shouldn't I? Or should I just let go of my little mid-life fantasy and stick with golf like most of my business associates? I am 40 this year.

Simon

If you think that aikido will help you to lose your overweight you are wrong. You have to change your life style, diet and this under control of certified dietician. So I see it as a first step. Then, you may consider starting very light running every day, also following advices qualified coach. Only after that, you can be back into the tatami, otherwise it will be huge disappointment and you will quite dojo forever.

mrlizard123
06-26-2012, 08:53 AM
You have to change your life style, diet and this under control of certified dietician. So I see it as a first step. Then, you may consider starting very light running every day, also following advices qualified coach.

I'm not convinced you need to pay someone to help you lose a stone of weight or so; you may want to and it may be helpful, but it's by no means required that you have a certified dietician or have a qualified coach to try and eat healthily and do some exercise.

The suggestion that Aikido will not help you lose weight makes a lot of presumptions on the person in question and the dojo they are planning on training at.

The question isn't "should I get back to training as a weight loss and fitness programme" it was "should I get back to training" with the additional question of "will being out of shape be a problem?". My answers are "Yes, if you want to or think you want to. You are free to change your mind at any time." and "Not necessarily; it depends on how you approach your training on the mat and possibly off of it as well if you feel like it's necessary or you wish to."

Good luck

NagaBaba
06-26-2012, 10:08 AM
I'm not convinced you need to pay someone to help you lose a stone of weight or so; you may want to and it may be helpful, but it's by no means required that you have a certified dietician or have a qualified coach to try and eat healthily and do some exercise.

The suggestion that Aikido will not help you lose weight makes a lot of presumptions on the person in question and the dojo they are planning on training at.

The question isn't "should I get back to training as a weight loss and fitness programme" it was "should I get back to training" with the additional question of "will being out of shape be a problem?". My answers are "Yes, if you want to or think you want to. You are free to change your mind at any time." and "Not necessarily; it depends on how you approach your training on the mat and possibly off of it as well if you feel like it's necessary or you wish to."

Good luck
Hi Rich,
You probably didn’t read carefully TO message:

Problem is, across this period of time, I also gain one stone of weight, huge pot belly, turkey neck and lost my fitness. I basically can't even do a couple of break-falls without panting and the thought of doing a full kote-gaeshi ukemi or a hip throw ukemi is nightmare to me now

It means he is overweighed and no fitness at all. Attempt to practice, particularly intensive practice in such health condition is simply dangerous. Also having idea that aikido practice will help him out is another dangerous illusion.
Human body is much more complicated that car, and for serious problems with your car you simply go to the car expert. Then you have a warranty of a job well done. Then, you can drive safely. Now human body needs even more care that is reason for my advice. The professionals have a well-established plans for such cases. Also, regaining a good health it is a process that takes a time, sometimes years. A follow up with professional is a big advantage.

Aikido has different goals, and shouldn’t be misused.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
06-26-2012, 10:23 AM
Nagababa, I am glad to know the voice of uncomfortable truths is still with us.

NagaBaba
06-26-2012, 10:51 AM
Nagababa, I am glad to know the voice of uncomfortable truths is still with us.

Nicholas, I'm also glad to be with you :) A truth is a simple truth, comfortable or uncomfortable these are dualistic categorizations coming from imperfection of our spirit. ;)

Basia Halliop
06-26-2012, 01:50 PM
Personally I agree that doing aikido won't necessarily take weight off -- most people need to change their diet for that, and you may find other physical training is needed to help make sure you keep/gain muscle and lose fat, to strengthen your joints, etc, and I'm sure you would need to limit yourself for a while for safety reasons, particularly when it comes to ukemi (which is the kind of thing you may remember how to do without your body being up to it). But lots of beginners take a long time to learn ukemi, so to me that's not unique.

But personally, for me I have always found that having something that I do on a regular basis that I love to do and want to be able to do better is the best motivation and constant reminder to do other (more boring and less intrinsically rewarding) kinds of things that will help me do the things I love better. When I started aikido I was skinny but weak and very quickly tired. Many things I wasn't physically capable of then that I can do now, I did only beginner classes, only two a week, and people were very gentle with me, but I loved it. Partly aikido helped me get in shape some (esp cardio) but it also gave me a lot of new reasons and reminders and rewards to push me to get healthier and fitter. I've found the same with other activities I like for themselves. For me it's important to do something you can get passionate about.

You may find the same. (or you may not)

Basia Halliop
06-26-2012, 02:01 PM
Also 1 stone is 14 lb or a bit more than 6 kg. He's out of shape and has no cardio but it's not like he's morbidly obese or something. You could always go to the doctor first to make sure there's no lurking health problems that means you shouldn't start a new activity but purely going by the description to me he doesn't sound any worse than a lot of (most?) beginners when they first start. ??? Assuming you have common sense and train respecting your body (though it's true, some people find this difficult, so I guess you have to know yourself to know if you can). Just IMO, not a doctor of course.

Simon Lai
06-26-2012, 08:06 PM
If you think that aikido will help you to lose your overweight you are wrong. You have to change your life style, diet and this under control of certified dietician. So I see it as a first step. Then, you may consider starting very light running every day, also following advices qualified coach. Only after that, you can be back into the tatami, otherwise it will be huge disappointment and you will quite dojo forever.

Touche Szczepan Janczuk.

BTW, how do you pronunce Szczepan Janczuk. What sort of name is that? Greek? Russian? Croat?

Simon Lai.

NagaBaba
06-26-2012, 08:26 PM
Touche Szczepan Janczuk.

BTW, how do you pronunce Szczepan Janczuk. What sort of name is that? Greek? Russian? Croat?

Simon Lai.
Hi Simon,
I'm happy you are taking it seriously. It is the most important step in the path.

For my name, forget about pronunciation! Simple mortals can't do that correctly :D Just call me Nagababa, it will be quite correct..

Brian Beach
06-27-2012, 07:20 PM
There is a saying that I've been seeing a lot lately on tee shirts and the like - " No matter how slow you go, You are still lapping everyone on the couch"

Go, have fun, be patient with yourself.

lbb
06-28-2012, 08:07 AM
Brian, I like that one a lot!

Or, as a friend of mine once said (while climbing an actual mountain and having a lot of struggle doing so), "I can climb this mountain one step at a time."

Simon Lai
07-03-2012, 08:38 AM
Attended my first lesson today, but sadly there is no Ah-Ha moment just yet.

We did nikajo technique today and I have to say my nikajo is still workable after all these years.

I gassed out quite quickly.... Expected since my cardio is in bad shape.

Simon

Janet Rosen
07-03-2012, 08:59 AM
Attended my first lesson today, but sadly there is no Ah-Ha moment just yet.

We did nikajo technique today and I have to say my nikajo is still workable after all these years.

I gassed out quite quickly.... Expected since my cardio is in bad shape.

Simon

Glad you went and glad you reported back!
Just keep showing up and training to the best of your ability and that best will slowly improve.

Simon Lai
07-11-2012, 10:03 PM
Yesterday, we were doing tanto mune tsuki and tanto yokomen uchi and gyuku yokomen uchi jiyu waza (uke can come from either hand).

When it was my turn to be the shite, I kept on doing hiji-ate kokyu-nage when uke comes with tanto mune tsuki and ushiro-ate when uke comes with tanto yokomen uchi or gyuku yokomen uchi.

There was no thinking, I seem to have forgotten all other techniques and just repeatedly do the two techniques as mentioned, over and over again....

Is this my A-Ha moment? When it comes to pressure testing is this how my body will react? Should I be faced with similar situation in non-dojo setting, will my body react similarly?

My A-Ha moment is that it is better to be good in one or two techniques than be good in many techniques and get confused when you really need to use it.

Yesterday, I am happy to have the opportunity to get to know myself better.

What say you all?

Simon

LinTal
07-12-2012, 12:51 AM
Me too! I had that at class just last night!

But I figure it this way - I remembered two techniques without planning to, didn't get smacked in the head (much), didn't fall over my feet as often as I used to and didn't need to run away. Progress!! :D

Scott Josephus
07-29-2012, 08:43 AM
Hopefully my input here is of some help. I will be 37 this August, so not that far removed from you agewise. I had trained for about four or five years, and then had several events happen in my personal life almost all at once - a new job, a new baby, several illnesses in the family, a death in the family, my wife losing her job due to sed illness . . . long story short, I ended up taking an unintentional hiatus . . . which ended up lasting three years.

I am also out of shape, and have put on some poundage as well. I started getting aggravated at things far more than I should be, felt tightening in my chest when I was stressed, and just all around felt something was out of balance in my life.

One week ago yesterday, I headed back to the dojo for the first time in three years. My Sensei was very excited to see me back on the mat. I practiced for almost four hours that day - in fact I think I overdid it, because there was one point I was barely able to breathe. But when I trained Wednesday, my breathing was better, and things started to fall back into place. Same thing when I hit the mat yesterday.

After only a week back, I can already start to feel the benefits; I feel calmer, more focused; some of my irritation at pointless things has gone away. The pressure in my chest has stopped. And I am more engaged in trying to apply the principles of Budo to my own life.

Some of my techniques are still rough, sure. Things need to be worked on. But that's always the case, isn't it?

My advice to you: Hit the mat as soon as possible. But take it slow, but consistantly. Set a mionimum for how many times you will go to class that week . . . you can always ramp it up later and go to more classes if you are able. If you are worried about what you can and can't do at this point, talk with your Sensei about your concerns: No good Sensei will put you at risk of needless injury. When you do your techniques, go slow at first until you have the movements down fluidly; speed will come in time.

After your first few classes, your muscles will start to re-adjust. You'll be hurting, you'll be achey (Aiki? :) ), but you'll be glad you're back.

Marie Noelle Fequiere
07-29-2012, 12:17 PM
If you feel that you tire quickly, maybe you should start by losing a few pounds before hitting the mat. Just walking thirty minutes three times a week will help, providing that you also review your diet. The prospect of returning on the mat can be a powerful motivation for regaining control of your health.
Come on, go for it, and keep us updated on your journey, we will be here to help, advise and encourage you. ;)

Aikironin21
08-02-2012, 08:17 PM
Great to hear you got back onto the mat! I think I may be the king of start and stop training! At least, when it comes to going to organized classes and dojo. I started training in Aikido when I was about 19 in 1994. Here I am, 37 in 2012 at the rank of 3rd kyu. Now, due to my profession, I have never just shelved my personal training, so returning to classes or dojo has never been like starting over for me. I have put on weight in my absences though, and yes returning to class can make you gas. Think about. Even if you were in your living room, lay down on the floor and get up over and over again, and after a while you have a workout for someone who does little physical activity.

So what can you do? Well, even if you lose weight right now, you would be moving less weight, but you will still gas on the cardio end. I would suggest, just walk! No need to become a marathoner or anything. Get out and walk for about thirty minutes at a good pace. Try to hit a mile in about fifteen minutes. Add to your walk, some Aiki-principles of movement, and treat it as a meditation.

At 37, I have started reducing my intake of grains and grain based foods and sugars. My mother began her battle with diabetes at age 40. I do not wish travel that path, so I am limiting the intake of the foods which make the body into the environment to become diabetic. If you limit your grain and sugar intake you will find a healthy body weight, and your exercise in Aikido and/or walking should be the only physical activities you will need for being healthy. If you want to be go beyond just being healthy, then you'll need to hit the gym of course. You don't have to make yourself crazy, counting fat, carbs, or calories. Just simply as yourself, was this made from grains, or does it have sugar? If the answer is yes, then decide either don't eat it, or cut the serving down to 1/4th and enjoy. I like to think of grains as non-edible when I'm not on some kind of cheat meal or vacationing bender of gluttony. I mean, when you are served crab, you have no problem eating the meat inside, and discarding the shell; so just think of grains as shells.

Aikironin21
08-02-2012, 08:21 PM
As far as technique goes, I have my "go to" moves too. Mine happen to be Sankyo and Nikyo. Even when not training in Aikido, I always find Sankyo, or Nikyo, somewhere in an exchange.

edshockley
08-11-2012, 05:36 PM
I am not contradicting the unanimous vote to "try it" but I do think you should examine your reasons for returning. If it is only to get fit again then you might compare Aikido to the various activities that serve the same end. As a first kyu you certainly have trained enough to understand the true place that Aikido holds in the life of a serious student and so you are sure that you are training for the right reasons and rewards. You might also visit a recently started forum about training as we age. You don't want to set yourself back with an injury.

Millsy
08-16-2012, 01:02 PM
Good to see you have started training again.
I too started back after many years in my mid 30's, plus way more that a few pounds and arthritis of the knee. A few years on now and its the best thing I did, I can't say I'm much lighter, but I am fitter and feel better on the whole, and my physiotherpest doesn't believe my knee is the same as the one the MRI shows and tells me whatever it is I'm doing to keep doing it.
I hope your experience is as good as mine.