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Old 03-05-2004, 07:19 PM   #1
Paula Lydon
Dojo: Aikido Shugenkai
Location: Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 427
aging while advancing

~~Recently I had a talk with my sensei and he gave me a handful of names of people in my dojo that he said I should focus on training with regularily. They are all younger, larger, more advanced and male. I am late middle-age, smallish and female. I guess I understand that working with them will ingrain the principles of correct movement into me (because that's the only way to move them), which is something I want, but getting slammed regularily by these guys is quite tough at times, even though I know I can take more than most women my age.
~~Will I survive the education? Is this the only way to grow in my understanding of Aikido (aiki) and skill level? I'd hoped this art wasn't another one where you needed to be young and ridiculously flexible and pliant to advance in and that I could train for many, many years, deepening my understanding.
~~Any thoughts on this?

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Old 03-06-2004, 01:17 AM   #2
Mark V. Smith
Mark V. Smith's Avatar
Dojo: Seikeikan
Location: Sacramento, CA
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 10

~~I guess I understand that working with them will ingrain the principles of correct movement into me (because that's the only way to move them), which is something I want, but getting slammed regularily by these guys is quite tough at times~~

Is it possible these people were picked as much to help you grow in your ukemi as in your technique? I know you have been posting for a couple of years but I don't really know how far along your training path you are. I started training at about 38 and quickly realized it was the effectiveness of my ukemi that would govern the survivability of my training life. I find the ones who challenge my technique the most are often the ones who are capable of challenging my ukemi the most as well.

Mark V. Smith
Aikido Yoshinkan Sacramento
Chief mat inspector

Aikido Rocks! (Ukemi Rolls)
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Old 03-06-2004, 01:43 AM   #3
p00kiethebear's Avatar
Dojo: Tonbo Dojo
Location: Bainbridge Island WA
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 374
If someone is throwing you hard enough to the point where you feel your safety is at risk you need to TELL them. It's not wrong to train hard. It's wrong to endanger yourself.

If you really arn't sure about it talk to your sensei. Perhaps you could work out something where you only work with the hard throwers once or twice a week and then have a day for a break.

I would say to also make sure you understand WHY he wants you to work with them. Who knows? maybe it's some super secret thingy, like a club, only members get to use those guys for uke.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 03-06-2004, 08:50 AM   #4
Paula Lydon
Dojo: Aikido Shugenkai
Location: Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 427
~~Sorry for the holes . I've been training in Aikido for 7 years, MA 17. I'd considered the ukemi angle even though Sensei said my ukemi was good (could always improve, of course) and attend Jun's ukemi class pretty regularly. My American interpretation for ukemi is 'ability to save your ass'. And if it's a club...well, I'm pretty sure I'm not in it .

~~To be honest, I have taken to grabbing a junior partner for every 2nd or 3rd training turn, but when I see Sensei watching me I hope he's not thinking I'm disregarding his advice. Or I'll try to get these big guys to what I call the shallow end of the pool, where practice is usually physically lighter and one works on little things, principle or has an injury. I keep thinking that when you're older you have to train smarter.

~~Thanks all and any more thoughts?

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Old 03-06-2004, 09:57 AM   #5
Nick P.
Nick P.'s Avatar
Dojo: Sukagawa Aikido Club of Montreal
Location: Montreal
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 642
When I started there was a senior student who was big, tough, strong and brutal. No-one liked training with him. I eventually just avoided him (like many others) and if I would have been a little more mature would have asked him to lighten it up a bit as Nathan suggests.

In the end he left and never returned, and I think I wasted a valuable opportunity. I had the chance to challenge myself, and I shied away from it, choosing instead to be safe and protect myself by avoiding him.

Maybe your Sensei sees you doing the same as I did: avoiding that which you need to help you grow. Technique might have nothing to do with it.

Give it a couple of months, and embrace the challenge. Then, if appropriate (and you survive , ask Sensei what he had in mind with his request.

Who knows, maybe he thought you were the only one who could challenge them.

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Old 03-06-2004, 10:52 AM   #6
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
I think the key word is advanced. When you train with those less advanced all the time you are not pushing yourself. Also, you will get exposed to more correctness of technique and energy.
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Old 03-06-2004, 11:29 PM   #7
Dojo: Aikido of Norfolk
Location: Norfolk, VA
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 71
Take it as an honor! Obviously your Sensei is showing you great respect if he thinks you should work with the advanced students more.

I regularly work with guys that are bigger and stronger than me. When you combine someone that is much bigger than you with a lightning fast speed it can be pretty intimidating. But an important aspect of Aikido training is gaining trust with your peers. It won't take long for you to gain the trust of the advanced students and vice versa. This trust will keep you from getting hurt more than anything else. Unless the students are major jerks, I wouldn't worry too much about getting hurt.

If you really are nervous about working with them or don't feel you can move fast enough. Try this. Start the class with deep diaphramatic breathing. Try and maintain the super slow breathing for the entire class. Don't stop after a couple minutes. Keep going. It's best if you don't talk much througout the class because it'll likely take concentration to just remember to breath slower.

If you can maintain the slow breathing through the class, you're more likely to be relaxed when faced with a stronger, faster, younger uke. Being relaxed is a key ingredient to being both strong and fast in Aikido.

If you breath deep enough it might even make you younger.

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