I'm also curious about specific exercises for the tendons and joints. I'm busy with Chi Gung and Tai Chi, and have been on and off for many years, so I'm also reexamining what could be called the inner aspects of Aikido.
have you ever thought about Yoga, it seems to me to offer much for the lengthening of muscles/tendons, and it has a similar mind/ body /spirit aspect as aikido ( without the dynamic movement ). I did it and really enjoyed it for a while, but went for aikido precisely because it lacked a dynamic element that I craved and happily found in aikido. I am however thinking of re exploring the practice to try and keep my body flexible enough to fully enjoy my aikido for as long as possible.
Has anyone else out there successfully combined the two practices, I'm sure there must be. I would be interested to hear of your experiences?
As for the inner aspects of aikido, I think this is the real challenge for us ageing aikidoka. Once you've enough mat time in, my feeling is that the physical techniques are quite 'easy', they don't get harder the more advanced you get, just the opposite. The inner aspects of aikido (for me) are the work that needs to be done off the mat. Being non-confrontational in the dynamic heat of randori is one thing. Maintaining the same composure when dealing with relationships with teenage kids, your partner, the incompetent service providers, etc etc.. now there's the challenge.
Am I alone on this?