Marie Noelle Fequiere
I started A´kido just one year ago, and I will be forty six in December. Of course, I trained in Shotokan before that, but, really, thirty five is not old even for a white belt. This is one of the many beauties of the martial arts: you can start at any age.
Like Matthias said, a big mean body builder is a blessing in an A´kido class. My instructors love to pair me up with this one guy who is not very tall, but incredibly stocky. Yes, he is a body builder. Working with him is a nightmare for me (I'm exactly five feet tall), but know it's also good for me. You just can't unbalance this guy with a less than perfect technique, and when I finally make it work, I know I ha've finally got it.
When you feel that you are using your strenght instead of technique, close your eyes, and relax all your muscles. You will be amazed how easy the technique will suddenly be. Of course, this works for a grab (wrist, lapel, sleeve...). It will be some more years before we can see a shomen coming at us, close our eyes and dispatch the assailant.
Welcome to the world of A´kido, and enjoy your training.
Thanks Marie. Your post brought a smile on my face. This is how I like to think.
Another thing I┤d like to mention here is that now I really need to start improving my flexibility. I am not that very stiff as many could imagine, but I have a long way to go to get the flexibility I want. I guess the more flexible you are the less likely you are to injure yourself in Aikido. Am I correct?