I'm not sure this is the proper place to inquire but I have similar questions. Five years ago my wife gifted me a three month intro to the local dojo and I went. I really enjoy it. Maybe informally I "picked up" much about aikido. I tested to 3rd kyu and since some injuries have cleared up, I continue. I need to figure out how to plan my training as I feel I'm being urged to "move up" with my practice. I'm 52 and I need to know if my body will be able to support my advancement. Especially Ukemi. I feel the responsibility to provide others with comparable ukemi to allow them to practice effectively. I have the highest respect for my sensei and the other dan students and feel I would like to talk about this plan aside from the 10 minutes between classes. So how do I aproach this situation so that I don't feel like some suburban slob with nothing better to do evenings?
Kane, you are actually fairly typical. This is something Aikido is going to have to deal with. There aren't many twenty somethings starting these days. Everywhere I go the average age is rising. I don't know what style of Aikido you practice, but many styles emphasize large projection techniques and lots of break falls.Your body isn't going to put up with that in your fifties and beyond.
I would check out the soft ukemi folks, Frank Ostoff and Jan Nevelius. If Aikido were to meet Systema in terms of ukemi, I think it would look like "soft ukemi". If you can take the impact out of your ukemi, you'll be able to train quite a lot longer without getting trashed.
Check out the Systema as well, if there's anyone near you who is good... Getting the tension out of your body is the key to not being injured and they do a batter job of that than anyone.