Aikido for All
I am choosing to move this discussion from the thread on "Fatal Injuries" because broader issues of training have arisen.
Aikido is available to all who choose to train. In the course of the past 25+ years I have trained with people in wheel chairs, or who were missing or had severely injured limbs, or blind, or deaf, as well as many "normal" people. In the "normal" category I include persons who weigh in excess of 300 pounds at 5'8", adults who are barely 5' tall and who may weigh all of 85 lbs. Then we get to the age issue. Presently in my dojo our adults range from 20 - 63. I have trained with people who did not start Aikido until they were 60 and are now in their 70's and hold nidan and sandans.
In fact the only limitations to training, beyond those of simply not having the requisite number of limbs, are usually those imposed by the people training themselves ( "I don't believe it is possible, ergo it must not be possible...").
Latly there is the issue of "intensity of training". If one is going to say only males 18 - 30 should train because that is when males are usually at their physical peak, then that rather limits the scope. At 55 with a sore shoulder, bad left knee and a small hernia, I try to take care of myself on the mats, but I have not yet felt the urge to crawl off into a corner and give up. Actually I am enjoying watching the 20 year olds try to keep up.
So I raise the issue for other instructors out there, what are your limitations on who can and cannot train? And what are your reasons?
I think Richard the original post was refering to a mental approach rather than physical. Too many go to the dojo as something to do rather than any great adherence to the way.
That is actually the point
As an instructor, I feel it is part of my "job" to help the student to develop their understanding of Aikido.
I have had enough students over the years who show up the first night wanting to be "serious", and who pontificate on about how serious they are, yet when they discover that they have to do stretches and rolls, they stop coming because it does not fit their image of "serious budo".
I have also had students who had absolutely no idea what they were getting into when they started and quite possibly after 5 - 10 years of training they still are not certain, but they show up regularly to train.
I have noticed that aikidoka and other martial artists who insist on the idea that "if it doesn't hurt it isn't real" usually wind up training only with others of the same bent. What I do not accept is some such people saying that theirs is the only "true" way of training.
When one trains from the proper attitude and extending one's full awareness to one's partner, then one stands an excellent chance of learning.
When one is out to prove something, one usually proves it, but that does not necessarily mean it is correct.
I am a student, not an instructor, se excuse me for trespassing.
In my dojo, we have 50+ people who practice with good spirits and viguor, and young people who come to pass time and socialize. They are afraid to take Ukemi, and find Nikkyo too painful. This kind of people will be already lying down on the mats before you even start the technique. I think it is not a matter of age or disability. It is a matter of spirit. Either you have it or you don't. Of course, I would rather practice with the first group rather than the second.
An article here on AikiWeb that may be pertinent to this thread:
Good one Jun
One saying of O'Sensei's has been translated to mean "defeat the spirit of contention within".
As this article points up, just because someone is being judgemental, does not mean you have to accept their judgement.
I do feel strongly (as if you couldn't tell) that the spirit in which one approaches their training will determine the quality of their training and how the treat their partners. Those who train solely for themselves, while they may improve their technique may also cripple their spirit.
No one gets good by beating up beginners.
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