Martial Arts are a good way to stay in shape mentally and physically. As an instructor I am often asked, “Am I too old to start?” My response is usually, “If you can walk, you can do aikido.”
I started aikido in my early 20’s. I have stuck at it and now have been training for over 30 years. I have adapted my training as I have aged to accommodate injuries and ensure that I can continue. I was lucky in that my teachers, who are all still training or trained right up to their passing, all provided excellent examples of how to stay engaged and stay young. I truly believe that the act of training aikido, mixing with people of different ages and backgrounds helps us to stay young in the mind and vibrant.
So what would one expect as a 40+ starting aikido?
- Detailed instruction with a step by step approach.
- Immediate use of strategy and tactics in application.
- Use of core body strength, with supporting exercises to build and develop it.
- Detailed OH&S awareness of potential dangers within techniques and how to avoid getting hurt.
- Safety first approach with a lot of basic and practical skill taught such as how to fall safely.
- A set of basic movements that you can practice alone, at home to help build your technique.
The links below are to video of a Shodan (blackbelt test) completed in October 2018. The combined age of the two testing was 87 years. Both started aikido a few years before and have come up through the ranks. They worked together towards this goal for most of the year improving their basics and becoming thoroughly knowledgeable of the syllabus. The grading video is in two parts. It is presented here as an example of what can be attained when one commits.
Darren Friend Shihan
Chief Instructor, Aikido Yoshinkai NSW