Re: training as we get older
The journey and and differences encountered with age I find a fascinating question and indeed has been a fascinating experience for me, especially in Aikido and maybe especially in the type I do.
I remember after about seven years or so whilst still very fit and agile doing hard warm ups and finding I had gone through some kind of barrier. Finding I could rely more on one point and Ki I could now carry on what seemed like forever without trying and was quite amused by watching everyone tiring and straining while I felt more and more comfortable, in a flow. I remember an odd thought I got at the time and that was the thought that I felt like I was cheating. Like it wasn't fair.
Fifteen years ago I had an accident and did my back in. Thereafter and up to today I have the back problems and am prone to sciatica and have to be careful lifting. Funny thing is that when doing Aikido it's almost like that part of me disappears, as if I park it outside and pick it up again after training.
One funny incident occurred last year when some friends training asked me and my long time Aikido partner to show them something we used to do. We decided to do a little demo and then I asked my friend to launch me across the mat from kotegaeshi. He asked if I was sure and I said yes. Hewas to take my one point and mind and aim me up and over to the other end of the mat. Up I went, over I went, down I came crack. Inside I felt the landing was a bit heavy and heard a crack but was more interested and confused even as to why people were coming towards me led by my son shouting 'Dad, you're not 16 any more!'
It made me laugh and I genuinely wondered what all the concern was about. They were a bit amazed by the throw and also by the distance I had gone but seemed concerned about something. O.K. I had hurt something but that's no big deal I thought.
Now as I traveled home I was wondering about this and and was still disappointed as to why I had landed so heavily, for some reason it didn't make sense to me. As I opened the front door I realized my rib was hurting and on touching it found it painful. 'Oh dear, I thought, I've cracked or bruised a rib'
Anyway, at that point something struck me, I'm not 16 any more! Now I was busy laughing at myself for the confusion was actually me comparing to before wondering what the difference was for before I would have bounced off the mat. I felt quite stupid. Ha, ha.
So I find experience and age gives so many things to compare and contrast when time is put into the equation.
I still find what we call the 'Yoda' effect amazing in our Aikido. You step on the mat and all disappears. The mind never believes it but has no choice but to come to terms with it, it's strange.
All in all I would say getting slower is not really pertinent or true for me for speed of the 'opponent' is not really a concern now. Stamina is probably the most noticeable difference for me. Next would be aches and pains which are more than before but balanced by my better ability to do something about them. I suppose they now become interesting challenges.
An interesting exercise.