First of all thank you ALL for contributing to this thread you are very helpful.
I especially would like to give thanks to Kevin Leavitt and bkedelen since their replies totally resonated with my question.
I think we'd do them a better favor by taking it very slowly, educating them on posture, proper movement, giving them exercises and conditioning that will allow them to improve their balance, posture, and core strength, weight loss, and nutrition...before we ever even let them do the first "martial technique".
It is widely understood within the coaching community that that having your athletes develop general physical fitness is the primary way to avoid injury when participating in their specific event or sport. Since Aikido itself has few physical fitness benefits compared to a even a basic strength and conditioning program, I am of the opinion that general physical preparation (gpp) should be undertaken as a co-requisite of Aikido, if only to mitigate some of Aikido's injury potential. Most other martial arts implement some form of gpp as an important aspect of training, at least initially, and throughout a competitive career. While it is accepted that generalized fitness is not a requirement for performing high quality Aikido, it is unfortunate that such an attribute is not seen as a correlate of, and likely a requisite of the development of high quality Aikido.
What kind of general physical fitness do you suggest would be helpful in minimising possible Aikido injuries?
Are we talking about push ups, sit ups,.... I already am jogging 3-4 km every day (not much but trying to keep up with consistency).
I must say that I started with jogging and biking in April this year and didn't do any exercise in more than 10 years + I smoked 2 packs a day (last 10 years) and during my 5 year stay in Ireland (until 2005) I drank lots of stout so here you go. One can not see this on my body since I am not overweight (182cm tall and weigh 80 kg).
I do feel lots of clicking sounds in my neck though and this started after the war in Bosnia. I was in it for 2 years and at one stage I was stuck on a mountain in October month, raining constantly without any housing or tents ... raining directly on us for a whole week, cold temperature, windy, uniforms drying directly on the body, etc ...
I am 34 now and for the first time in my life I am realising the importance of bringing my body, mind and soul (Ki, Spirit, whatever) into harmony within and without (the Universe, my neighbour, nature, whatever). I am trying to make my Ego Me give place to my Humble Me (this is the part which needs sweating). Maybe something hard to do in this Ego based human culture but still not impossible. As Mahatma Gandhi said "Be the change you want to see in the world".
My aim is to develop spiritually through a peaceful martial art techniques without causing damage to my physical body and by doing this might even cause emotional damage.
Harmony between body, mind, emotions and spirit is the key to achieving this aim of mine. This is what I want from Aikido and not what I state Aikido necessary Is or what Aikido has become in our modern times.
So, what we do instead is provide "martial entertainment" for them. Some of them stay and "survive" the rest of them decide it is not or them, or get injured and move on.
Thank you for this very helpful insight
it will help me get prepared for my future Aikido training.
You see I wouldn't mind paying more money to instructors which tend to have less students but does spend more time in a very careful and systematic shaping of all aspects involved (physical body, mental/emotional mind, spiritual Ki).
Many tend to hurry the process (money, competition, etc) both Dojos and students (acording to info from the net) and how can one blame them, we live in a world which is speeding up day after day.
This is the main reason for me trying to SLOOOOW DOOOOWN but not on the expense of a hurt knee/neck/shoulder
After all your input I can "see" that there are at least 2 forms of Aikido trained these days.
The one is to entertain as many as possible where students tend to achieve "perfection" as fast as possible (could be Ego based)
there is the Aikido which is focused in achieving harmony within and without through disciplined technical practise, achieving mental peace, developing patience and focusing on extending Ki into ALL aspects of our life.
So, it is all about finding the right Master, meaning which is right for me at this time of my life.
Hm ... I think I might give it a try and start Aikido at my local Dojo since I have read about the instructor Stefan Stenudd on his web page and I get very positive vibes about him.
Of course I would like to start with general physical fitness ASAP so please feel free to suggest exercises I could work with to minimise possible injuries. I always believed that proper preparation is half the way up the mountain.
I also believe that one can not get lost if asking for direction
Once again thank you all very much this was very helpful