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.