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Old 08-15-2009, 08:36 AM   #1
Location: seattle
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 2
Smile Aikido for older beginners ?

Can older beginners handle Aikido training?

I am pushing 50 and I have a weak right knee from an injury some years ago. I am wondering if I can handle Aikido training. Can someone please give me ideas? Thank You.
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:09 AM   #2
Mark Gibbons
Location: Seattle, WA
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 177
Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

I started 5 years ago at 48. Everyone in the Tuesday morning class I go to is over 50. It can be done. There are ways to protect your knees, ask for help.

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Old 08-15-2009, 09:38 AM   #3
Dojo: Calgary Aikikai
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 68
Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

I started about the same time as you ( and that was 9 years ago) and used a neoprene knee support to firm up the looseness in my knee. I also use ( to this day) volleyball knee pads to protect both my knees from impact. They are hot in the summer and need regular cleaning but do the job.

I wish I was Mark with a class full of 50 year olds !! but every so often it's nice to outlast the out of shape young ones!!!!

Have fun and practice within you limits so you can "play" for a long time.

Andrew Barron
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:04 AM   #4
Mark Peckett
Dojo: Aikido Fellowship of Great Britain
Location: Birmingham
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 84
United Kingdom
Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

Plenty of good advice here; I can't add to it, simply recommend you take it and start. There are plenty of us 50 plus-ers practising and enjoying it.
I would say you'll probably enjoy it more than some of the younger, more physical active practitioners, as there is a cerebral aspect of aikido which seems to appeal to older people: the difference of a couple of degrees in an angle making all the difference in a technique and is the kind of thing which seems to fascinate the more mature!
If I can give you one piece of advice - learn to pace yourself and listen to your body.

Last edited by Mark Peckett : 08-15-2009 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:26 AM   #5
Mary Eastland
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Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,417
Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

Jean starting training with us when she was 70 and continued until she was 77....she has now passed.
She continues to be an inspiration to me...she did what she could and made Aikido her own.
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:58 AM   #6
Lyle Laizure
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Dojo: Hinode Dojo LLC
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 563
Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

I am not as old as some of you buy my knees are much older. Expect pain in your knees starting out and from time to time it is just a part of training. But the knee pads and braces/wraps are a wonderful way to help them. I would also like to suggest going to www.aminoactiv.com. This is a topical antiinflamatory that is absolutely amazing. It works for roughly 12 hours, rub it on in the morning and again in the evening. It is truly an amazing product.

Lyle Laizure
Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 08-15-2009, 11:57 AM   #7
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,882
Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

I started at 44, almost 15 years ago.
Always carry knee braces with me.
Let me show you how to bow in youngster.
Welcome to the mat.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 08-15-2009, 12:33 PM   #8
mickeygelum's Avatar
Dojo: Warren Budokan, Ohio USA
Location: Youngstown, Ohio
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 502
Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

Mr. Woo

I am 53, I had my left knee re-constructed two months ago, I am back on the mat with very few impediments or restrictions. I also train in FMA, Albo Kali Silat specifically, the surgeon and staff where made aware of my expectations upon full recovery. My surgeon is a TKD blackbelt, so the PT was aggressive and regimented.

While training will aid in weight reduction or control, it is not the way to reduce an obese physique, other avenues to reduction should be initiated before and during your training. If your knee problems are attributed to obesity and injury, you need to see you doctor and initiate a reduction program.

Any physically challenging routine will bring soreness and discomfort, yet will dissipate over time as your body adapts to the rigors of training. You know your limitations, proceed wisely.

Train well,

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Old 08-15-2009, 03:45 PM   #9
Janet Rosen
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Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 4,336
Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

{waves} another over 50 with crappy post-blownout knee here....in addition to what everybody else has said:
1. Pay extra attention to good body mechanics, avoid torquing your knee.
2. Remember that knee supports offer warmth and compression and padding but do NOT prevent injury in the event of torquing or an accident.
3. You might consider an off the mat regimen to make sure your quads and hamstrings are strong as this will protect your knee joints.
4. You might consider talking with your instructor about minimizing kneeling techniques until you are more sure about good standing/walking/falling body mechanics.

Janet Rosen
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 08-15-2009, 03:59 PM   #10
Larry Feldman
Dojo: Atlanta School of Aikido
Location: Atlanta, GA
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 372
Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

I have several in my class over 50, having promoted 2 (soon to be 3) to Shodan.

You might look for a style that does not emphasize or require break falls. Rolling should be sufficient. Plenty of good choices in Seattle.
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:41 PM   #11
Dojo: NRL & Capital Aikikai
Location: Washington, DC
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 11
Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

I started 23 years ago when I was 43 ( or was it 20 years ago when I was 46?) A long time ago in my 40's. I have never worn knee protection. I usually have to stand after several rounds of sawari (sp?) waza and always look for the tall skinny guy to uke when practicing koshinage. As for high break falls, still do them occasionally but usually can fudge less exciting ukemi. I've been telling people for 20 years that you don't have to to high break falls if you are over the age that is less than my age at the time and divisible by 5.
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Old 08-16-2009, 09:57 AM   #12
Ryan Seznee
Dojo: Does it matter?
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 102
Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

We have an instructor at my dojo who is in his 50's and he takes more classes than a couple people I know in their 20's. If your body can take it, welcome

Knee work is going to be tough for you with the bad knee though...
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Old 08-16-2009, 10:09 AM   #13
Kevin Leavitt
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Dojo: Team Combat USA
Location: Olympia, Washington
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

I have seen alot of older folks come into martial arts over the past few years. Most if not all don't last. I think a big part of the reason is due to physical conditioning and the accompanying frustration level of trying to learn something new like aikido.

My recommendation is to go to a competent personal trainer or sports medicine specialist and get a comprehensive assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. They should do an assessment based on coordination, balance, fexibility, and strength. The assessment will show you what your weak areas are, and they will prescribe exercise in order to improve those imbalances.

If you read through the boards alot of us that are in shape and have been doing this for a number of years are proponents now of solo training and conditioning and going back to the drawing board to improve our conditioning and core strength in order to improve our aikido.

There is alot to this art if trained correctly and slowly.

The problem in alot of dojos is that we through beginners into these big huge off balanced movements that frankly, even I at my level of conditioning, years of experience and age are not comfortable handling.

There is alot of room for injury...and if not injury...frustration over not improving because you have to compensate for an imbalance in your body.

Take your time, go slow, breath and use easy natural movments. Again, at 50 and starting new, with a weak knee...i'd get an assessment if you are serious about this stuff.

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Old 08-16-2009, 06:30 PM   #14
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Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

Just do it... You know you want to, and that is the most important step.
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Old 08-16-2009, 10:26 PM   #15
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Posts: 1,214
Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
Just do it... You know you want to, and that is the most important step.
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Old 08-17-2009, 07:33 AM   #16
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,162
Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

What Kevin said. It's very doable, but as with many other activities, if you don't prepare with good conditioning you will probably regret it. Particularly for older adults, conditioning is the key to being able to engage in vigorous activity, develop skills and remain injury-free.
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Old 08-17-2009, 07:44 AM   #17
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Dojo: Allegheny Aikido, Pitsburgh PA
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 936
Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

I'm not what you'd maybe call older exactly. I'm 39 and had never done anything remotely like Aikido in my life. No sports no other kinds of martial arts. Ive ridden horses most of my life and trained them and I do hoof trimming so I am used to hard physical work and carry a good bit more muscle than most girls.

I have a good bit of wear and tear on my body. Arthitis in my knees from a bad fall from a horse when I was younger, torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder and several dislocations on top of it, Occasional hip issues, mild asthma, not to mention I'm a good bit beyond what a Dr would call my ideal weight.

LOL I do Aikido. Yeah it hurt for the first month or so. A LOT! Some mornings I could hardly get out of bed.

Once my muscles got used to all the new work and began to get conditioned to new movements the pain stopped. I can, and have, trained up to 4 hours in a day. I think I hit 9 hours that week. Was no more than just very tired for a few days. No soreness really at all.

Its certainly doable if you want it bad enough.
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:30 AM   #18
Lyle Bogin
Dojo: Shin Budo Kai
Location: Manhattan
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 588
Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

This article was mentioned by an "older beginner" at Shin Budo Kai recently. It was written by Judith Robinson Sensei who runs a dojo down in Tuscon with the Takemusu Aikido Association (Iwama/Saito Sensei style).



"The martial arts progress from the complex to the simple."
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Old 08-17-2009, 10:39 AM   #19
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Dojo: Searching for a new home
Location: Delaware (<3 still in Oregon!)
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,002
Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

My husband started 5 months ago and he is 58. I was told that a man started aikido in our dojo in his 70's and stayed till he was in his 80's I believe. That is what is great about aikido; people of all ages can gain something from it.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:18 AM   #20
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Dojo: Aikido Seishinkan
Location: Kuching
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 111
Re: Aikido for older beginners ?

As other people mentioned, it's not really the age, it's the body condition. I agree with what lbb said.

Remember that most Aikido senseis aren't experts in physiology and Aikido is always promoted as being accessible by everybody though I think in truth, if you have an impediment there might be certain things you cannot do in Aikido.

I personally have made this mistake, thinking I could lessen exercises that involved the knee or back, but without a thorough understanding of the injury, the Aikido didn't do them much good and gave them pains which stopped them from coming. I remember a 28 year old girl who had weak knees and although she wasn't doing any suwariwaza techniques, things like shihonage or even ikkyo when she sat down for the lock gave her pain. Of course this could be to my own ignorance and perhaps other instructors have over the years developed methods to help this.

It would be best to seek professional medical advice as to the kinds of movements you should avoid.

A weak knee would rule out suwariwaza techniques which although I personally think there are other ways around it, is quite a fundamental part of training especially with kokyuho.. Also certain styles are harder on the knees for eg Yoshinkan based ones.

The most important thing is making sure your teacher can adapt (which I am learning to do so) and communicate the range of movements you can or cannot do. But i believe with things like this...a little discomfort is unavoidable but may end up actually strengthening your muscles to support weak knees/joints.
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