View Full Version : Hello - and a few questions

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05-05-2004, 12:24 PM
I am brand new to this forum. I do not currently study Aikido, but hope to gather some information that will send me down the path to joining a local dojo.
There seem to be a great many dedicated people here who I hope will answer a few questions.

I have been looking at 2 forms of physical arts;
Aikido and Tai Chi.
My question is: Am I a candidate for Aikido?

Here are my statistics
I am 40 years old
I have never seriously studied any form of Martial Art, (other than a few weeks here and there at various schools, years ago, college and my job soon put an end to that)

I have done quite a bit of reading on Buddhist, Taoist and Bushido philosophy recently and some reading on Aikido. I am drawn to the non-competitive aspect of it Aikido and its emphasis on the improvement of the self. I have recently focused on combating all of my personal internal battles that have raged for years and have come to realize that I must center my mind, body and spirit, the Aikido idea of “Masakatsu Agatsu” (True victory is victory over oneself) is exactly what I am working on.

How hard is it for a beginner at my age to start Aikido?
I exercise regularly, lift weights lightly 3 times a week and walk a fast three miles on the treadmill 3 times a week.
I don’t have the best knees and my joints are not conditioned very well since I have never really trained them for any particular purpose.
I would not say that I am in the best shape of my life but I’m not confined to a wheel chair yet.

I have read some discussions on knee problems here and on various other boards.
How hard is the impact of Aikido on the body?
The low impact of Tai Chi and its benefits to health are what drew me to the idea of Tai Chi, can anyone compare the two?
Is there a fair comparison to make?

Thank you for any replys

05-05-2004, 12:37 PM
Hi Michael,

Welcome to the AikiWeb Forums!

As far as your questions, I'm sure you'll get a lot of responses. My take is that the best thing to do for you would be to stop by a few aikido dojo and check them out yourself. Different dojo have different ways of practicing, some of which may work for you and others which may not. The New England area in which you reside has a lot of good aikido dojo, so you're in luck!

-- Jun

05-05-2004, 01:01 PM

If you walk and lift even light weights, you're in better shape than me, and I've just recently started aikido.

A big thing in this art that you will need to learn is how to fall properly, which will mean learning how to roll and also how to lessen the impact of a landing. Other than that, there isn't really much in the way of punching, blocking, or other "sharp" hard motions.

Also, a good instructor will work very hard to make sure that you are able to advance at a pace that matches your abilities and limitations. Aikido has been successfully taught to students who are blind, and students who use wheelchairs. I don't think you'll have too much problem!

Heather, cheerful newbie

05-05-2004, 01:09 PM
Jun and Heather
Thank you for the welcome and the responses.
Hearing that there are not any really hard motions helps, and certainly stopping in at each of the potential Dojos is the right way to go about choosing a school that is best for me.


05-05-2004, 04:23 PM
I started aikido when I was 39 (now 40) and not at all athletic. I didn't learn as quickly as the college students in my Intro class, but so far I haven't hit anything that I can't do. I must say, I find it a tremendous thrill to be thrown and be able to roll or breakfall successfully--I just didn't imagine myself as the kind of person who could do that.

I picked up some bruises along the way, and one case of sore knees which required strengthening exercises and avoiding certain moves for a while, but nothing more serious.

One of my favorite training partners is 61; he started when he was 50. He's the dojo's keenest breakfaller, and while we all think he's crazy, he certainly demonstrates that you don't have to be young to do this. (He would say that it does help to be crazy.)

Mary Kaye

Jeanne Shepard
05-05-2004, 06:43 PM
Oh yeah, there is no "too old" for this.
We've all got war stories...

Jeanne :p

05-05-2004, 08:13 PM
I still like Dave Lowry's statement: (paraphrase) "If you are fit enough to walk into the dojo under your own power, you are fit enough to begin training".


05-06-2004, 08:46 AM
Many thanks for the replys.

I believe I have my answer. Now I will move on to the next step of visiting local dojos.

05-08-2004, 03:34 PM
If you let me know where in New England you are I might be able to recommend a good dojo. Feel free to send me a message or post here...
My parents are both in their 50s and started Aikido about 6 years ago. They love it!