Thread: Aikido at forty
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Old 08-13-2007, 07:50 AM   #5
Location: St. Louis, MO
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 179
Re: Aikido at forty

Carl Rylander wrote: View Post
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:

Nafis Zahir wrote: View Post
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.

Kevin Wilbanks wrote: View Post
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 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.
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