Re: Chronic Joint/Tendon Damage
Aikido is such a blanket statement, it couldn't be analysed as any single activity you could put your finger on. Aikido is more of a large environment where all sorts of teachings, practices, and trainings are conducted. But maybe the environments could be broken down.
1. Rough and tumble: these are the clubs that train with lots of muscling, poor alignment, getting up and down off the floor hundreds of times in a single training session, lots of sweat and aerobic exercise. They like to really feel like they're doing something, and are often hard on the body. In terms of body health and studies, I'd say close approximations would be gymnastics, and other sports that can be jerky on the body that people tend to continue throughout life, such as tennis, racquetball, skiing, jogging... enjoyable, but can take its toll on the body - especially the knees.
2. The aikibunnies: This is dancey stuff, but actually might incorporate some real ki training. Not necessarily martially effective, but overall an intelligent approach to body/mind If you were looking for studies on health, tai chi as a comparison couldn't be too far off. And you could probably include folk dancing, and physically milder forms of yoga.
3. Aiki schools: these are clubs and teachers that approach everything from more core principles. It tends to be built on more integrated foundations.There tends to be more neocortex in operation, and less limbic system and testosterone. And these schools would be closer to the Chinese tradition in terms of body culture. I would look for statics on cultures that have healthy posture and integrated movements - including pre-1920's America, Scandinavia has its pockets, as do many less-developed countries.
I can also just add, that you can't really look back at the last 20-30 years of aikido as a model for how it will be in the future. Aikido is undergoing a drastic infrastructure overhaul. There is an aiki movement that is undeniable, and a return to core aspects of the art that were, for numerous reasons, not included or passed down. And this aiki core is responsible for the structural alignment of the body and integrated movements. So, in many cases, the very things that have been racking up bodies in aikido - from misaligned movements, held tensions and resistance - that also show themselves not only on physical, but also emotional and mental levels - will be largely a thing of the past.
The kids coming up today are too informed and too smart. And much of the way aikido has been trained and taught is not going to fly with them. There's a renaissance emerging, that's already apparent to some, and will be quite apparent to many in the not-to-distant future. That your daughter could continue to be able to practice and explore aikido, and have it be of benefit, rather than a detriment, to her health as she ages, should be something that is on the mind and conscience of anyone at any level of responsibility within aikido.
Last edited by Dan Richards : 03-08-2013 at 05:15 AM.