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CarlRylander 08-13-2007 05:53 AM

Aikido at forty
 
Dear Aikidoists,

I am forty and still thinking of taking up Aikido. Thing is, some of those throws look a bit difficult. Has there ever been on record anyone who has rolled and broken their neck on a first uke?

I don't want to be the first!

I think I can do it, if I take it gently at first. You can only know when you try, I suppose. I don't want to leave it any longer. Aikido may be regarded as 'soft', but some of those throws are fantastic! I don't definitely don't want to leave it until i'm fifty, or even forty five. It's now or never.

I'm not planning on using Ki to make me fly through the air and land on my feet, so no sarcasm, please!

Amir Krause 08-13-2007 06:15 AM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
Do not worry, copmared to some of the beginners in our dojo, you are young :)

You should find the right teacher for you, who would not push you beyond your abilities.

Amir

Nafis Zahir 08-13-2007 06:24 AM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
Quote:

Carl Rylander wrote: (Post 186146)
Dear Aikidoists,

I am forty and still thinking of taking up Aikido. Thing is, some of those throws look a bit difficult. Has there ever been on record anyone who has rolled and broken their neck on a first uke?

I don't want to be the first!

I think I can do it, if I take it gently at first. You can only know when you try, I suppose. I don't want to leave it any longer. Aikido may be regarded as 'soft', but some of those throws are fantastic! I don't definitely don't want to leave it until i'm fifty, or even forty five. It's now or never.

I'm not planning on using Ki to make me fly through the air and land on my feet, so no sarcasm, please!

Being someone over 40, I advise you to do 2 things: Keep your weight down and stretch everyday. This will keep you light and help you to relax. Take it easy and just enjoy yourself!

Kevin Wilbanks 08-13-2007 06:24 AM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
Actually, I think your concern for your own safety is wise. It is highly unlikely that anyone is going to severely injure you in your first class or two, but, with some of the practice I've seen in my travels, it has probably happened. I suggest you scout all the dojos that are within a reasonable distance and watch a class or two to start. Ask questions and observe the attitudes and behavior of the people there. If it seems like people are getting yanked and slammed around and most people have unpleasant expressions on their faces, cross that one off your list. I have seen many people "trapped" at such dojos because they never shopped around and didn't know any better.

Also, once you are training, do not hesitate to assert yourself for your own safety. No matter how rude or unheard of it may seem, you are always free not to train with someone whom you think is endangering you, or even bow out, get dressed, and walk right out the door. It's your neck.

Dewey 08-13-2007 07:50 AM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
Quote:

Carl Rylander wrote: (Post 186146)
Dear Aikidoists,

I am forty and still thinking of taking up Aikido. Thing is, some of those throws look a bit difficult. Has there ever been on record anyone who has rolled and broken their neck on a first uke?

I don't want to be the first!

I think I can do it, if I take it gently at first. You can only know when you try, I suppose. I don't want to leave it any longer. Aikido may be regarded as 'soft', but some of those throws are fantastic! I don't definitely don't want to leave it until i'm fifty, or even forty five. It's now or never.

I'm not planning on using Ki to make me fly through the air and land on my feet, so no sarcasm, please!

In response:

Quote:

Nafis Zahir wrote: (Post 186151)
Being someone over 40, I advise you to do 2 things: Keep your weight down and stretch everyday. This will keep you light and help you to relax. Take it easy and just enjoy yourself!

I second this. I began Aikido training when I was 34 going on 35. Granted, it's not the same as 40...but I most certainly can tell that I'm not a kid anymore! For me, stretching is most important.

Quote:

Kevin Wilbanks wrote: (Post 186152)
Actually, I think your concern for your own safety is wise. It is highly unlikely that anyone is going to severely injure you in your first class or two, but, with some of the practice I've seen in my travels, it has probably happened. I suggest you scout all the dojos that are within a reasonable distance and watch a class or two to start. Ask questions and observe the attitudes and behavior of the people there. If it seems like people are getting yanked and slammed around and most people have unpleasant expressions on their faces, cross that one off your list. I have seen many people "trapped" at such dojos because they never shopped around and didn't know any better.

Also, once you are training, do not hesitate to assert yourself for your own safety. No matter how rude or unheard of it may seem, you are always free not to train with someone whom you think is endangering you, or even bow out, get dressed, and walk right out the door. It's your neck.

I agree with this also. Contrary to what a lot of nay-sayers and critics claim, Aikido can be very dangerous. If you do not learn how to properly fall, you could seriously injure yourself...so your concerns are well-warranted. The litmus test for me: is safety constantly emphasized at the dojo? This in the form of both proper execution of the technique, but also taking considerable time to instruct newcomers on proper ukemi. As Kevin said, if you don't feel comfortable and/or safe taking a fall...then don't do it! Any instructor or classmate that demands you take a fall that you're not comfortable with, provided adaquate ukemi training was not provided, is no place for you to be. Challenging you to grow is one thing, endangering you is another. Be smart & be safe.

SeiserL 08-13-2007 08:29 AM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
Welcome youngster,
I started at 44. Almost 13 years ago.
Go slow, learn good form, and you probably won't break anything.
Okay, maybe a good sweat.
Relax, breath, and enjoy yourself.
Again, welcome youngster.
May I show you how to bow in?

Larry Cuvin 08-13-2007 08:39 AM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
Carl,
Without any background in any martial arts, I started when I was 44( I'm 47 now) and I had to get permission from my doctor to train due to my lower back problem. Just relax, take it easy, and know your limitations. I you decide to take the plunge and try it out, voice your concerns to the sensei. As you probably know, there are a few aikido styles. Sample as much as you can then decide which teaching or dojo you want to join.

Oh, in Ki Society style aikido, we have to extend ki all the time so ki training is part of the curriculum.

Larry Feldman 08-13-2007 09:11 AM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
I have several students in their 50's practicing, just tested one for his black belt.

Kevin's advice is good - shop around. See how beginners are treated.

Qatana 08-13-2007 10:58 AM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
I strted at 46, injured myself (as opposed to being injured by a partner) in my second class, and made 2nd kyu in four years.
One of my teachers is 77 and is taking the same ukemi as the rest of us.

You're just a kid.

Michael Hackett 08-13-2007 01:26 PM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
Wish that I had started as early as forty! I started at fiftysix and have been training for four years now. I've had my share of bumps and bruises and dislocated a toe (by kicking my training partner accidently as he threw me). I don't delude myself into thinking I'm only 19 again, or as indestructible as I was at 19, but we play hard and have fun with the training. Kevin gave you some very sage advice and I strongly suggest that you follow it. If you find the right dojo for you, you should have nothing to worry about. Generally you won't be asked or expected to do anything beyond your capacity and your training partners will take good care of you in a quality dojo. Taking ukemi is, for me at least, a great part of the joy I experience. It will come to you - just trust yourself and find a good school for you. Have fun and let us know how your training goes. Good luck.

crbateman 08-13-2007 02:44 PM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
Carl, I got stuff in my closet older than you. Just look around with an open mind, and find a school and a teacher that feel right. Don't sell yourself short, as you are there to enhance your capabilities and overcome your weaknesses. It takes work, and you can't just mail it in. And most importantly, don't compare or compete with others. Just try to get a little better every day.

Ron Tisdale 08-13-2007 02:50 PM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
I trained in a dojo on wednesday (one of the hottest and most humid days of the year here) who must have been over 60. This guy really had some guts as an older beginner training in that weather. I really admired him. When we did oto geiko after class, he took a couple of soft falls, but his butt hurt. So I just had him walk away from the throws, or we turned the waza into connection and stretching exercises.

He did really well.

Best,
Ron

SteveTrinkle 08-13-2007 08:07 PM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
Hey Ron,

The guy you're talking about would probably be flattered to hear you think he in his 60's. He says he's in his early 70's and he does train hard and with an outstanding attitude.

It was a bit warm that evening though...

Thanks, as always, for training with us.

Steve

Don 08-13-2007 10:00 PM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
I was 39 when I started. I'm 52 now. Good advice given by all. I would add one thing. When you visit a dojo ask them to demonstrate and explain how they teach beginners to fall. It has been my experience that for anyone overcoming the fear of forward rolls is one of the major hurdles a beginner must make. Its not the back falls or back rolls. Its almost always the front rolls. Pay attention to how they would teach you to roll and how much time they will devote to it. As we age our fear of falling naturally increases, and your instructor should recognize that. However, given the right instructor and dojo you (and virtually anyone else) CAN master ukemi...If you can, it would also be useful for you to do some weight training exercises that strengthen your lower back. Between that and ukemi, you should never have to visit the chiropractor! Good training!

tarik 08-13-2007 10:19 PM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
Personally, I plan on quitting when I hit 40.

I mean, how can I guy over 40 continue to perform?

Oh... wait.... what? Bonds just hit 756 a few days ago?

Damn...

Well.. I guess I'll be getting some vitamin shots in my ass :uch:, but at least I ain't quitting!

Damn...

Just found out that my teacher ain't no spring chicken either!

(more shots)

CarlRylander 08-14-2007 03:41 AM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
Thanks for all the encouragement, guys!

I suppose I passed my athletic peak at twenty three, like most people. I can still do one hundred pressups. My back's a little weak, but it could be brought up to strength.

If I don't do it soon, I never will.

justin 08-14-2007 05:59 AM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
Quote:

Carl Rylander wrote: (Post 186272)
Thanks for all the encouragement, guys!

I suppose I passed my athletic peak at twenty three, like most people. I can still do one hundred pressups. My back's a little weak, but it could be brought up to strength.

If I don't do it soon, I never will.

100 press ups :eek: i would say your to fit, just passed 35 myself and i dont find the fitness side of things hard at all, stopping my brain going to mush when i am trying to do various techniques now thats a different matter.

wish you all the best

Ron Tisdale 08-14-2007 07:20 AM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
Hey Steve,

That was one of your best classes ever, I really enjoyed it. Your group has always welcomed the Yoshinkan Nut, and I really appreciate it. Some of my best training has been with you, Lia Sensei, and especially Kirisawa Sensei. You guys will hold a special place for me.

Best,
Ron

lbb 08-14-2007 09:04 AM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
To OP, I would say look at the school very carefully. If it's full of oblivious young guys who don't understand that they (and other people) can get injured, you might want to look elsewhere.

tarik 08-14-2007 10:04 AM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
Quote:

Carl Rylander wrote: (Post 186272)
Thanks for all the encouragement, guys!

I suppose I passed my athletic peak at twenty three, like most people. I can still do one hundred pressups. My back's a little weak, but it could be brought up to strength.

If I don't do it soon, I never will.

I'm not sure that I've ever been able to 100 press ups. Strengthen that back and your core, but you sound like you'll do just fine. I know people who started in their 50's and 60's and are still training.

Regards,

Jonathan Punt 08-15-2007 05:50 AM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
We had a member who started Aikido at 68.

He trained for about 10 years until health issues forced his retirement.

He was a great chracter, deaf as a post, practically blind but enjoyed every minute he was on the mat.

We used to call him 'old Phil'

Sadly he passed on a few years ago but he will always be remembered by those who trained with him.

jennyvanwest 08-15-2007 08:42 PM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
I'm 39, have been training about a year. I will admit that I broke my collar bone in the spring, not from any spectactular breakfall which generally don't hurt, but from a bad roll when i was much too tired to be doing what I was (stretching my limits on the mat late in the day after a poor night's sleep). Now I'm back at it. I absolutely love it and am going to really study those rolls and respect my own limits, whatever they happen to be on a given day / time, and hope to train into my oldies.

I hope you have a great time! I'll be joining the 40+ club next spring.

Lan Powers 08-16-2007 02:40 PM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
quote..< I hope you have a great time! I'll be joining the 40+ club next spring. >

As the unofficial treasurer, you may send your dues directly to me.
;)
Lan

Ron Tisdale 08-16-2007 02:45 PM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
Quote:

I'm not sure that I've ever been able to 100 press ups.
I used to be able to do about 300 in 15 minutes.

That was a VERY LONG TIME AGO.

Best,
Ron :D

PS Lan, I know I'm late on my dues...the check is in the mail...

Mark Uttech 08-16-2007 03:28 PM

Re: Aikido at forty
 
Once you turn forty, the watchword seems to be: "it's now or never."

In gassho,

Mark


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