Thread: Aikido for All
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Old 12-05-2001, 02:03 PM   #1
Richard Harnack
Dojo: Aikido Institute of Mid-America
Location: Maplewood, Missouri
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 137
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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?

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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