View Full Version : geezers and geezerettes

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Paula Lydon
08-08-2002, 10:09 AM
I don't recall coming across this particular topic, but then I'm relatively new to this site. Overall, I've trained in different MA for 16 years, obviously aging along the way (what's that about?). I've noted my mind/body changes, the lengthening injury recovery time, the improved ukemi to save my butt, the shift in focus from physical power to more internal, principle based power. Yet, there are still many struggles.
My question is, if you're at least 35-40+, how are you dealing with your maturing body? If you're under 35, how do you view your future training? Perhaps you have ideas or approaches that will aid me.
Hobbling off to the bathroom now, thanks!:D

mike lee
08-08-2002, 10:45 AM
Stretching, stretching, stretching. :do:

08-08-2002, 11:39 AM
I wasn't able to stretch very far as a 20-year old, it certainly hasn't gotten easier as a 40+ year old!

While I don't bend as easily as I should, I am making a sincere effort to be quicker to account for my lack of flexability.

What do others do:freaky:

08-08-2002, 11:42 AM
My question is, if you're at least 35-40+, how are you dealing with your maturing body?

08-08-2002, 11:56 AM
My question is, if you're at least 35-40+, how are you dealing with your maturing body?
I believe that weight training greatly alleviates the symptoms of age. (But that counts in the void column as yet in my case because I haven't gotten back into it, yet.)

I warm up until sweating before training (I often find that other teachers "warm-ups"--stretching, actually--cool me down.

I never work through the pain anymore.

I take glucosamine.

I avoid breakfalls (out of consideration mainly, of a tempermental neck).

I don't crank people. This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you shouldn't dish out what you're unwilling to take yourself. On the other, there are some 20+ year olds who need good thrashings (as Ikeda was kind enough to supply me lo those many years ago) that they don't get from me...

08-08-2002, 12:18 PM
I am within the specified age group but I don't have enough MA history to see any differences yet. I do notice myself taking extra care to avoid (possible) injury - at least compared to my teenage athletic days.

As far as my expectations, I expect that my poor stretching abilities will slowly improve. My ukemi will improve with practice. There are others in the dojo that are older than I that probably started at an earlier age but I am hoping to move my skills to their level. If my skills and physical abilities level off before ?-dan level, that's fine, at least I can enjoy the training and the friendships.


08-08-2002, 12:55 PM
Wow what a loaded question. I too had over 15 years experience in other (Chinese) martial arts prior to starting in aikido. Some of the steps I have taken now that I am 40-something are:

-constant emphasis on improving my ukemi;

-more attention on a proper diet;

-hydration, hydration, hydration...;

-additional exercise outside of the dojo (cardiovascular, I don't need weights because I always have been somewhat muscular)

-essentially shaving my head (can't bear to do the comb-over thing on my chrome-dome :) );

-lastly, and I think most importantly, accepting the fact that my body can't do everything it used to...

One benefit of the aging process is that in many cases, it gives some of us an edge in terms of life experiences on which to draw knowledge, and hopefully a little bit of patience and tolerance in ourselves and others. Of course, this is IMHO, and I could be WAY off base.


Doug Mathieu
08-08-2002, 01:38 PM
Hi Paula

I started Aikido when I was 32 and am now 43. I think I have a net gain in my abilities. I may feel a bit more sore after training but I can do better ukemi which more than offsetts the body deteriation so far.

As I have gotten older I know certain parts of my body, primarily knees and shoulders and sometimes my ankles will be sore or stiff quicker.

Someone mentioned getting a good sweat going before training and I have found the same thing to be good for me. I noticed this especially at summer camps.

I also watch out for certain excercises that I have learnt will damage my knees.

I wish when we are younger we had better insight in the things that will show up as harmful to us later on. Particularly impact to knees for me. I encourage younger people to consider what they do now that they can get away with but will have an accumalative affect on them later on.

Paul Smith
08-08-2002, 02:18 PM
I was having just this talk last night with my Sensei. At 41, I am feeling a bit of an effect from intensive training stiff and sore hips and knees - but do not want to to cave in believing it is due to my age. Like all of us, I very much want to continue the training I am accustomed to (I take breakfalls every time, train most days of the week, in what I consider to be, for want of a better description, a "hard" style of Aikido).

SO - I am about to enter into a laboratory. I want to do four things and see what happens:

-clean up my diet, to become much, much more conscious of what I am taking in, including never, never going without proper hydration;

-lose weight - I am about twenty pounds heavier than my "fighting uchideshi" weight of 6 years ago;

-Stretch more, and make it more a part of my lifestyle (not merely before class, but seeing stretching as part of a healthy body and not merely as a means to get ready for Aikido training)

-undergo a regimen of bodytherapy (Zentherapy, a modality found through Chozen-ji, my zen lineage).

Of course, I know the above, taken as a whole, is not a panacea, and our age does matter. But I also know how easily the mind can lead one down the slippery slope in convincing one of bodily limitations, which simply don't have to be.

If I find anything interesting as I move ahead, I'll post. In the meantime, aiki-bugei, GAMBATTE!

08-08-2002, 03:51 PM
I also watch out for certain excercises that I have learnt will damage my knees.
Could you please elaborate more on this subject???

What kind of exercises did you find harmful for the knees??

Bruce Baker
08-08-2002, 03:53 PM
Believe it or not, what you have stated in your original question is probably the answer.

That magic spring of youth will fade as the years progress, and you will have to modify ... not only your physical approach to practice but your diet as well, if you haven't already.

The up side is the strength from your inner spirit, and the clarity of your mind will increase as you begin to piece together the puzzle of martial arts and how Aikido was reformed into the practice it is today compared to its capacity to when brought to full effectiveness for it warrior roots in battle. Yes, we have taken Aikido to a level of safe practice while maintaining its effectiveness for much more devastating techniques. We curtail in the safer practice that is now Aikido.

Stretching is a vital exercise, as is diet, as is modification of using physical strength. This muscular strength of youth will fade while you find yourself resorting to a more effecient source of energy, cerebral energy.

Arthritus, aches, pains, diseases ... they are coming round the mountain at an alarming rate, and exercise is the best medicine to curtail the decaying rate of the human body becoming old.

So ... not to be downbeat about all the fun things you will face as you grow old, but there will be good things also. The joy of practice you put into Aikido will be transmitted to all those partners you train with, and that ... yes that ... makes it all worth the difficultys that will arise.

Hang in there, it will be a lot more interesting than growing from teen to adult, and maybe some of the most memorable years of your life.

08-08-2002, 06:43 PM

My question is, if you're at least 35-40+, how are you dealing with your maturing body? If you're under 35, how do you view your future training? Perhaps you have ideas or approaches that will aid me.

Hello Paula

As my wife is want to say when I "complain" about a hard training session ...you're not 20 something anymore. I like Eric's response...denial and I don't mean the river.

As for the things that I do...a regular gym workout doing a mixture of weights, cardio, stretching and abdominal exercises.

Where possible arrive early at class to warm up (I need a few extra cranks to get the body going ;) ). Also stay a few minutes longer to stretch after a class

My wife swears by glucosamine. Like me she has a old injury to her knee that acts like a weather predictor. I dont take any of these supplements but I do wear knee and ankle supports during training.

Keep well hydrated during training. Depending on the weather, I've put away anywhere between 1 and 2 liters of Staminade per class.

As for the aikido practice, focussing on ki extension, centre, posture and movement as the basis of the techniques instead of trying to haul people of their feet. What my senseis call "creating the hole to help uke fall into"

Happy training all :)

08-08-2002, 08:09 PM
Hi, I can tell you that Im currently 35 and I can laugh large all of You below this age.



08-08-2002, 09:45 PM
I'm under 30, and scared shitless looking at all those old aikidokas with knee bandages creaking their way about the dojo. Heh heh...

Seriously though, weren't there some famous aikidokas under Osensei who could not even bend, or sit seiza anymore in their later years?

My ankle and wrists are already hurting and I have to take special care with them. That's why I'm doing strength training to build more muscles that can support by body structure and reduce injury. Oh yeah, shed more weight so that my joints don't get stressed to much.

08-09-2002, 03:48 AM
My father is a police officer and used to do aikido on me when he got back from training just to show off, nowedays its the other way round, he's learning a few things and i think he's interested in joining the club although he is pretty fit for a 45 yr old he does creak a bit the fact that he's gonna be a grandaddy in about 6 months doesnt help either he's feeling his age now.

I'm 22 and currently suffering from leaparditis (paintballing) and a shoulder injury (paintballing again) i take glocosamine sulphate for my knee's cause well i've always had bad knees (crepitus) though aikikdo is building strength in them so thats good, i view my long term prospects as good cause i've already started to loose weight and i'm more agile and a little quicker on my feet (gonna need it when the baby arrives) but thats about it i think aikido is really doing me some good.

Like ueshiba i'd really like to train right up until my passing (hopefully not in a pub fight ;) ) i think it'd be kewl to have great grandchildren coming to me for training, heh


08-09-2002, 03:58 PM
My question is, if you're at least 35-40+, how are you dealing with your maturing body?
At almost 52, a lot smarter thank you.

I warm up. Don't train through the pain. Give myself longer to recover and more credit for showing up. Mostly, a laugh a lot louder and don't take myslef nearly as seriously or personally.

Until again,