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Old 11-28-2001, 01:34 AM   #1
UteM
Dojo: Witten
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Question Oldies

Hi Everybody!
About 10 months ago I started learning Aikido at the age of 42. I read that it's also for "women, people at their 40ies and above and for untrained people" , and all three that's me! I'm in a womens class with a few women all around 10 years younger than me. I love training and I think technique is not the problem, BUT Ukemi of course and a lack of concentration and constitution. I never felt that old, quite the contrary, but these exceptions become more and more frustrating so I thought I'll ask here if there's anybody out there who started training at almost the same age and had to deal with the same frustration.

Thanks
Ute
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Old 11-28-2001, 06:58 AM   #2
Kami
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Question Re: Oldies

Quote:
Originally posted by UteM
Hi Everybody!
About 10 months ago I started learning Aikido at the age of 42. I read that it's also for "women, people at their 40ies and above and for untrained people" , and all three that's me! I'm in a womens class with a few women all around 10 years younger than me. I love training and I think technique is not the problem, BUT Ukemi of course and a lack of concentration and constitution. I never felt that old, quite the contrary, but these exceptions become more and more frustrating so I thought I'll ask here if there's anybody out there who started training at almost the same age and had to deal with the same frustration.
Thanks
Ute
KAMI : Do not believe in everything that you hear...Anyway, here's my first question : are you overweight ?
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"We are all teachers, and what we teach is what we need to learn, and so we teach it over and over again until we learn it".
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Old 11-28-2001, 07:40 AM   #3
UteM
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No, I don't think so. Im 1.58 m and my weight is 56 kg, I think that's normal. Nevertheless I'm feeling like a chump when I try to fall, I think especially because I'm kind of rusted, I can't make my back round enough. And I don't know if it's possible if you haven't done very much for your physical constitution for years that you can straighten it out?

Ute
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Old 11-28-2001, 09:27 AM   #4
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Originally posted by UteM
And I don't know if it's possible if you haven't done very much for your physical constitution for years that you can straighten it out?
I don't have any experience in gaining back flexibility, so no help there.

You definitely can rebuild your consitution. It will just take a while.

The older we get, the easier it is to get out of shape and the longer it takes to get back into shape.

You need to evaluate your diet and exercise. Smoking and heavy drinking are no-no's.

IMHO, the way most people train, aikido isn't enough exercise. You really need seven hours of aerobic exercise per week.

Best,

Greg Jennings
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Old 11-28-2001, 09:53 AM   #5
Stephen Quick
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Ute, I am a few years older then you but started training at a significantly younger age. A few thoughts.

As I have aged I find that doing stretching/warm ups on my own prior to the "offical" warm ups in class makes a big difference.

I also do the same streching 4-5 times each week at home when not training.

Our dojo has a number of students well over 40 (one who is 63), who have started training in the last year of so. I don't know what they do specifically but many, while stiffer then the younger students do quite well with ukemi.

Ukemi takes a good deal of practise especially if you have not been particularly active or engaged in physical fitness related activities as you have aged.

Hang in there and keep working at it. Have fun, push yourself a bit but don't get hurt.
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Old 11-28-2001, 10:48 AM   #6
UteM
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So you all mean that Aikido training isn't enough to get a better constitution. I really hate aerobics ( sorry Greg ) so I probably would like to jog instead. And do my own private stretching exercises.

I'll try it, I have much fun during my lessons that's why I don't want to give up so quickly!

Ute
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Old 11-28-2001, 10:55 AM   #7
guest1234
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Welcome to Aikido!

I started when I was 42, but had stayed in pretty good shape until then. Don't feel bad about the lack of flexibility, I see that in a lot of the young students as well. Flexibility certainly improves ukemi, but even pretty stiff folks roll without problem after practice (at my last dojo we had a student who started in his late 70's).

As others said, you may want to do extra warm-ups and stretching outside of regular class---perhaps a yoga class if you are inclined to add more classes to your routine, or just ask a senior student for good stretches you can do on your own at home. If you get winded and have to sit out (I sometimes see this in students who don't do any other exercise) I'd suggest two things: 1) slow down your pace, but don't sit out...learn to pace yourself, remember to breathe...this is not only better for your conditioning, but safer for your heart. 2) add some gradually increasing aerobic activity into your life outside the dojo.

have fun!
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Old 11-28-2001, 11:46 AM   #8
UteM
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Thanks for the welcome!

Yes I often get winded because of the tempo in our training lessons. Because we are only a few persons, sometimes only two, it is difficult for me to slow down. And to be honest, I definitely don't want to say each time, that it's too much for me. That's why I thought I'd ask here for some experiences.

Ute
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Old 11-28-2001, 02:57 PM   #9
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Originally posted by UteM
So you all mean that Aikido training isn't enough to get a better constitution. I really hate aerobics ( sorry Greg ) so I probably would like to jog instead. And do my own private stretching exercises.

I'll try it, I have much fun during my lessons that's why I don't want to give up so quickly!
Hi Ute,

Something is probably lost in translation between my context and yours.

I mean aerobic exercise in the sense that one is utilizing oxygen (hence the "aero" root word) at an increased rate to create energy. I didn't mean aerobics which is just one kind of aerobic exercise. Jogging, biking, inline skating and aerobic weight lifting are all aerobic exercises that I, personally, enjoy.

Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 11-28-2001, 03:23 PM   #10
UteM
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Oops, my apologies, I should take a look in my dictionary more often. I thought I knew the translation, this word is so common here in Germany that I never had the idea it could mean something else. Now I understand what you meant!

Ute
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Old 11-29-2001, 09:05 PM   #11
Caio
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Hi Ute,

I would like to talk a little bit about a Sensei that lives here in Brazil.
His name is Jose Lemos, he was born in 1922 and started practicing Aikido when he was 48 years old.
He's still practicing, teaching and attending to seminars.
His graduation is 5th Dan by Aikikai.
He will be 80 years old next year.
Isn't that great?
I hope this inspires you!!
Keep training!!

Caio
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Old 11-29-2001, 10:41 PM   #12
nikonl
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Wink

Ute: You will get better as you go by, don't worry, there's a wall in front of you, behind the wall is erm,paradise? so break through the wall and all is well.
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Old 11-30-2001, 03:38 AM   #13
UteM
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I think besides physical fitness that's what I need most: staying power. Thanks alot for encouraging me

Let's see where I am in 2038

Ute
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Old 11-30-2001, 04:07 AM   #14
JJF
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by nikon
Ute: You will get better as you go by, don't worry, there's a wall in front of you, behind the wall is erm,paradise? so break through the wall and all is well.
I never thought there would be smelly gi's, acking knees and so much swetting in paradise... but there are

And Ute: I recently brought my mom to practice when she was on a visit - she's 64, she did well and she liked it a lot. Unfortunately there's no Aikido dojo in her hometown so she's taking tai-chi instead. What's important is to do as Colleen said: do it in your own pace. It is hard to make demands when you feel that you slow others down, but it is a good lesson for them as well in order to become a good uke.

Adding Aerobic training into your life is a good thing, but not neccesary. If you would only do it because you think you HAVE to and you hate it, then don't. It's okay to challenge yourself but it should still be fun. I also believe that you will find that Aikido is less exhausting once you become more familiar with the moves, and with falling. You will gradually increase speed and intensity, but the mental fatigue from doing techniques that your body is not at all familiar with influences your physical well being since you tense up, forget to breath etc.

I think it's important to be serious, sincere and have a lot of fun while practicing.

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 11-30-2001, 05:13 AM   #15
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Originally posted by UteM
Oops, my apologies, I should take a look in my dictionary more often. I thought I knew the translation, this word is so common here in Germany that I never had the idea it could mean something else. Now I understand what you meant!
No problem. I certainly couldn't write in German as well as you write in English...

Hang in there, Ute. Aikido is really more about tenacity than anything else.

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 11-30-2001, 06:51 AM   #16
JJF
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Greg Jennings
Hang in there, Ute. Aikido is really more about tenacity than anything else.
Tenacity ?? You did it again Greg - this time I had to bring out my dictionary too...

By the way - I think you are right!

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

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Old 11-30-2001, 12:10 PM   #17
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Originally posted by JJF
Tenacity ?? You did it again Greg - this time I had to bring out my dictionary too...

By the way - I think you are right!
Sorry about the vocabulary. It's by-product of reading too much in my youth.

Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 12-01-2001, 05:06 PM   #18
tedehara
 
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Re: Oldies

Besides Greg Jennings suggestion about aerobic exercise - Nice Call Greg , I would suggest for anyone - whatever their age to be careful about swari-waza sometimes called the samurai walk. This is practice walking on your knees. One of the first things to go on athletes are their knees, and moving on them doesn't help.

The dojo I go to doesn't do that much swari-waza or kneeling techniques (zagi). If your dojo does, go out and buy decent knee pads. They even sell some especially made for Aikido. Wear them all the time, if you know you'll be doing kneeling techniques.

There are people who will say that they don't have any problems with their knees, but they're not in their 70's or 80's. The injury occurs over time and is not immediately felt.

Besides this one warning, just go out and have fun. You'll find that you need to learn at your own pace. Sometimes that will be slower than someone younger than you. Sometimes that will be faster than someone younger than you.

Last edited by tedehara : 12-15-2001 at 09:27 AM.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 12-01-2001, 06:39 PM   #19
Speireag
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Vermont
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Re: Oldies

Quote:
Originally posted by UteM
Hi Everybody!
About 10 months ago I started learning Aikido at the age of 42.

[snip]

I never felt that old, quite the contrary, but these exceptions become more and more frustrating so I thought I'll ask here if there's anybody out there who started training at almost the same age and had to deal with the same frustration.

Thanks
Ute
Don't worry about it. Practice carefully and consistently and your body will come up to speed just fine. Don't overdo it and injure yourself, but don't hold yourself back; use your best judgement.

I started into Aikido again at age 30, following a hiatus of several years. I was in decent shape but not great when I started back. It took about three weeks to get back to the point where I did not have to sit out at least once in a class (we practice vigorously at our dojo, but this varies from place to place). It took a year or more before some body changes really started to settle into place, and I still notice changes for the better.

George Leonard is a well-regarded sensei and author who started when he was 47. He wrote an article entitled "On Getting a Black Belt at Age Fifty-Two". You can find it in the compilation _Aikido and the New Warrior_ (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/IS...028743-8395805). He was still teaching about a year ago when I visited Aikido of Tamalpais and took a class from him, and as far as I know he's going strong. I believe that he's in his eighties now. There's an interview with him on this site: http://www.aikiweb.com/interviews/leonard0400.html.

Keep going!

-Speireag.

Last edited by Speireag : 12-01-2001 at 06:44 PM.

Speireag Alden
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Old 12-01-2001, 07:55 PM   #20
akiy
 
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Re: Re: Oldies

Quote:
Originally posted by Speireag
George Leonard is a well-regarded sensei and author who started when he was 47.
[snip]
He was still teaching about a year ago when I visited Aikido of Tamalpais and took a class from him, and as far as I know he's going strong. I believe that he's in his eighties now.
I remember being there at his dojo for his 75th birthday party. It must have been about four years ago now, so he's probably 79 this year.

I just saw him again this March during the Aiki Extensions conference and he was doing very well.

-- Jun

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Old 12-02-2001, 04:27 AM   #21
UteM
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You all are suggesting really fantastic hints and advices. I just read the interview with George Leonard which contains many very interesting answers to my questions.
It seems to be a bit difficult to find the right way between ambition and patience, and at the same time not to lose the fun while practicing.

Ute
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Old 12-03-2001, 03:46 AM   #22
JJF
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by UteM
It seems to be a bit difficult to find the right way between ambition and patience, and at the same time not to lose the fun while practicing.
Yes! but it's the same thing for all of us . If it has anything to do with age I would tend to say that getting more matured should increace patience and the ability to just enjoy the moment, but on the other hand - it IS hard to teach an old dog new tricks...

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

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Old 12-03-2001, 07:46 PM   #23
Chocolateuke
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Re: Re: Oldies

Quote:
Originally posted by tedehara
Besides Greg Jennings suggestion about aerobic exercise - Nice Call Greg , I would suggest for anyone - whatever their age to be careful about swari-waza sometimes called the samurai walk. This is practice walking on your knees. One of the first things to go on athletes are their knees, and moving on them doesn't help.
u.
well, first off i agree that walking on your knees at an old age would need some consideration ( im 17 so i am just talking )
but anyway swari waza is not walking on your knees it is doing throws while on your knees hence the "waza". this might be a art to art translation like tori and nage both same thing but diff words but when waza is applied it usually means your gonna have tecnige like ursiro waza. at our dojo we call walking on your knees shinkko ( she-en-ko) while swari waza is doing tecq

not to stab you at all tedehara and as I say it may be a art to art mistranslation. happy training.

Dallas Adolphsen
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Old 12-06-2001, 06:29 PM   #24
janet
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Hi, there. I started aikido around my 41st birthday, less than 3 months after abdominal surgery, and in overall not very good condition.
Fear and uncoordination kept me from doing forward rolls for 3months. Lack of "wind" and endurance made me sit down and rest twice during each 1 hour class for the first couple of months, then once during a class for a few months more.
Trying to learn the most basic hand-and-foot elements of techniques remained frustrating for...oh, years....(I'm going to be 47 next month...).

Yet there was never a moment when I considered stopping training. A few observations:

The endurance will come, just by showing up and training. If you WANT to build it faster, by swimming or cycling or jogging, great. Its not essential.

I believe that hardly any dojo I've been in actually does complete enough warmups and stretches (and most dojo mix up the two strangely). It would be a good idea esp for older students to warm up ahead of time by walking briskly to dojo or doing some jumping jacks or jumping rope for a bit, then get on the mat and really do good slow, non-bouncing stretches.

Women seem to be at higher risk than man for some knee injuries (acl tears) because of three factors: hormonal, structural, and how we use different muscles than men to do the same movements. From studies I"ve been reading, and a long meeting with an athletic trainer at local college, it is very important to do functional exercises for both the quadriceps (front of thigh) and hamstrings (back of thigh)--especially the hamstrings, which most women neglect to work on. By functional, I mean instead of putting on weights or going on a weight machine, putting the body through weightbearing movements that work the muscle and increase balance--like hopping, standing on one foot on a balance beam or a 2x4 on the floor while doing small knee bends, jumping around a maze with attention to posture and being light and bouncy, etc.

If you pay attention to your body telling you when its time to slow down and rest, you should be able to train for many years!

cheers.

janet
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Old 12-07-2001, 04:41 PM   #25
tedehara
 
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Re: Re: Re: Oldies

Quote:
Originally posted by Chocolateuke


...not to stab you at all tedehara and as I say it may be a art to art mistranslation. happy training.
AURGG!!
Just kidding.
Actually, I've always used swari waza as a generic term applying to all kneeling techniques and the practice of moving on your knees. Of course, you are correct in that waza means technique. I've never heard the term shinko, although I know the present trend is to give new terms for various movements.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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