View Full Version : Too Old or Too young?

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Tony Briand
03-01-2003, 05:22 PM

I'm new to this forum and to matrial arts in general, but I have a question. I'll apologize in advance is a similar subject has been discussed, as my archive search skills were lacking because I didn't find too much.

My son (he's almost 7 yrs old), a few months ago, had the choice of extracurricular activities (i.e soccer, baseball, etc)and chose martials arts. We enrolled him in a karate studio near my daughter's dance studio. It's a Kempo Karate studio. After sitting in the studio and watching him(and trying to get him to practice) for the past several months, I have developed an interest (the physics, the physical activity, philisophical aspects, etc.).

After researching the varrious type of martials arts, Aikido (no specific style) interests me the most. However, I'm now 42 (How'd that happen so quick?) and in OK shape (i.e not overweight, nonsmoker, etc.) and my son's age seems low for Aikido.

I think it would be fun to learn Aikido with my son, but our respective ages seem to be an issue. What are the thoughts of the practitioners on the forum?

Thank you,

03-01-2003, 05:28 PM
My Sensei started Aikido when she took her son - then 8 - to the Dojo. The two have trained together and now she runs the dojo. Age certainly wasn't a problem for them; the two of you will pick up different things from Aikido which you can share with each other. :)

Carl Simard
03-01-2003, 05:35 PM
There will be no problem neginning at 42, it's even truer if you're in a relatively good physical shape. In my case, I started aikido at 30, which I agree isn't 42, but was well past my teens!

Anyway, the young today seems to be in pretty bad physical shape, so you shouldn't have any problem to keep up with them...

03-01-2003, 06:11 PM
I say go for it!!

Surprising what you can learn from the young. You'll both grow together. The youngest in our dojo is 5. When his father joined in, he had to sit out for a while, it was not as easy as appeared to his son!;)



Choku Tsuki
03-01-2003, 08:54 PM
At seven he's going to find ninja-turtle-power-ranger stuff more interesting. You're going to like aikido and you should start soon; you're as young as you're ever going to be right now.


03-02-2003, 12:53 AM
You don't sound too old at all--in fact, I would guess you are closer to the mean aikido practitioner age than a teenager would be.

And, I can totally agree with wanting to start with your son--I would be all over that if I were you. But, my guess is you wouldn't be in the same classes, and your son's curriculum would be 90% games and jumping around and stuff.. but that's just a guess, the only way to know is if you have seen the kids' class. It's great to hear that this has indeed worked for other families.


03-02-2003, 05:08 AM
Anyway, the young today seems to be in pretty bad physical shape, so you shouldn't have any problem to keep up with them...
I wish you'd come and tell that to some of the 20 year olds in my dojo. :)



Erik Young
03-02-2003, 05:58 AM
I'll add my .02 and say that if this is something you want to do, go ahead and try it. You're not too old, nor is your son too young.

I myself starting taking Aikido again, and it came about because I enrolled my 9 year old son in classes. Would've done it two years earlier had I been able to find a dojo where we lived.

As was said before, kids classes will probably be very different from adult classes. I started (way back when) as a kid at a different dojo. In that dojo and the one my son is enrolled in, there were more rankings than the adult classes. This allows for slightly more freaquent testing without the kids shooting their way up to black belt (I've never met a shodan under the age of 18...not to say they don;t exist, but not at these two schools or other ones I've visited...this is a good thing IMHO).

With the younger kids, there is less emphasis on perfect technical execution. Also less emphasis on torque...but this tends to change as the children get older and more experienced. Often, as teen agers, they are invited to join the adult classes.

Anyway, as a Dad, I find it gives my son and I something special to talk about. It's an actrivity that's "ours." Good fatehr-son bonding stuff. It's also a good carrot to get #1 son to keepo up with his responibilities at home (e.g. homework needs to be done or aikido classes don't happen). Also, when #1 son gets hyperactive, I can start running him through excercise drills from class to help get the neegry out...he seems to like it at least.

Finally, it's alot of fun to watch him in class. I learn a lot. Can;t really say much more than that.

try it out. Good luck.



Tony Briand
03-02-2003, 11:02 AM
Thank you to everyone that took the time to respond. I think my next step is to go to the local dojos with my son and check them out.

Now I think it's time to check out the dojo search tool on this site.

Thanks again,

03-02-2003, 11:55 AM

I started aikido when I was 36 years old. I enrolled because I wanted to get my children started in a martial art.

My current instructor started aikido over 20 years ago. Her son started about 20 years ago when he was 9. They both run their own organization now. http://www.societyaikidocenters.com

I think that taking aikido together only gives both of you a futher tool to bind with as he grows older. You need to always have a path for communicating, and aikido is as good a reason as any to help keep that communication alive.

Good luck. I have several students who started aikido in their 40's and 50's. I have one student who started with me last year - he is 78!

03-02-2003, 06:11 PM
A friend of mine started aikido in her mid 40's and, now in her mid 50's, she just attained shodan. I agree it is never to late to start training aikido because it offers something for everyone. As for earliest age my experience is about age 5.


Lan Powers
03-02-2003, 10:36 PM
I am 42...........just got into it, and love every sweaty bit!

Joseph Huebner
03-03-2003, 07:40 AM
The recommendation from my dojo was an entry level of 8 yrs old. Being the father of a 5 yr. old girl, I would have to agree. My daughter has been in gymanstics since the age of 3, and although her coordination is better than most her age, she's a bit too young and underdeveloped for aikido.

As for being too old, what is too old? For me this means you're six foot under. Too old does not mean too late for any endeavor in this life. I would encourage anyone with a sincere interest to engage in this activity. Aikido, in my short experience, has a certain degree of latitude and understanding for those who have inabilities and challenges. This is very unique and special; one of the reasons I was drawn to study Aikido.



03-03-2003, 09:38 AM
Everybody in my dojo is well past 35 with the exception of the two newest members.My senior sempai is well past 60.

I'm 46 and can say with full egotism that I'm at least the most physically flexible member...which will help prevent injury when techniques are at least done correctly, as my newly healed shoulder will testify.

hey, can i put my homepage in my sig even if its not MA related?

Qa'tana jo

both sharp and blunt


Marc Kupper
03-03-2003, 10:48 AM
I started a year ago at age 41 along with my daughter who was nine and three months. We have never practiced together on the mat but at home my daughter likes to show me stuff she's learned and the other night was asking about the names of a couple of techniques.

42 is not "too old" by far to start. Please keep in mind that your body will learn things at its own pace. There will be occasional setbacks along with lots of small successes.

I'm less certain on what to say about Aikido for your six year old. The bigger challenge may be finding a dojo that has a class for that age bracket. My dojo's minimum age is eight for example. As with your 42 year old body, the child will learn at his own pace and you will need to encourage him through those occasional setbacks along with lots of small successes.

In the SF Bay area there is a chain of dojos, www.newschoolaikido.com (http://www.newschoolaikido.com), that offers "Family Aikido" classes where you can practice together with your child. I have no idea if you can find something similar in your area but brought up New School to let you know there may be dojos in your area they are trying this concept.

I think it's more important though that you find a dojo that you like and where you are comfortable with the people and what you see in the classes. Your child may not be able to join you right away but who knows, in a couple of years you could be an assistant teacher in the kids class and then would have the best of both worlds. :-)

As a FYI, a book you may be interested in is Gaku Homma's "Children and the Martial Arts: An Aikido Point of View."

03-03-2003, 11:48 AM
O'Sensei reportedly had an encounter with someone in their 60s or 70s (don't remember the specifics). The person had worked hard all his life and wanted to learn aikido but was concenred he was too old. O'Sensi apparently took him on the mat and got him started and he eventually achieved black belt. So I guess you are never too old.

Mixing an adult and young children's class can be difficult though. I have had students as young as 7 (he did perfect rolls and could take a high fall out of any technique). I find below about 12 (if mature) they are better in a kids class.

My 2 cents.

03-03-2003, 01:40 PM
I am 52, been at it (Aikido) over 8 years. My sons love seeing me thrown around. Its good modeling. Welcome to the mats.

Until again,