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Aikido: Martial arts for the elderly

Aikido is a a practice that can help people balance body, mind and spirit. It can be practiced until very old age, and it's also a fun and social activity with many benefits

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I always wanted to practice martial arts, and when a close friend recommended Aikido and I attended a practice I was shocked by the fact that the Sensei was an elder woman in her 60´s, and with very smooth movements she could take down youngsters in their 20's, and then I learned that the creator of Aikido Morihei Ueshiba, one of the last grand masters in martial arts, got even bettter performing when we was older, like in this.

Here is an insight story from a 59 years old person posted on a forum in 2008:

"Hello everyone, my name is Nelson. I started training karate in Venezuela when I turned 16, and did it for a few years. Once I became aware that I could seriously harm or kill another man with one punch, I quit. Since then I have been wanting to practice Aikido. I wanted to have another option than to kill another guy. I just wanted to be able to put him down without hurting him too much or not at all. On 09/11/2007, I went to the local Subway shop to get a sub on a Saturday afternoon and noticed that in the dojo next door there were two men dressed in white top and black pants. I saw how one of them "touched" the other one who ended up on the floor. I stopped on my tracks and kept looking. They did it again. At this time I decided to check it out and went to the door which was locked, but immediately one of them opened it. I asked: "Is this Aikido?" Yes, he responded. My second question was: "Do you do any type of kicking?" No, no kicking, he said. I though "Oh, good". Since I have bad knees from my karate days, I didn't want to start kicking again. I asked if I could watch one class. The next week I went to the dojo to observed the class and signed up. It has been a year and I wear a green belt. I train two days a week and practice at home almost daily. I love it. My only concern about Aikido is that I'm now 59 and don't have the same energy I had during my teen years. Sometimes I wonder: "Why am I doing this?" I respond to myself saying: "As I get older I need to keep moving to stay in decent shape and better health". This keeps me going. I'm also very determined and competitive; this helps too."

As Dany Nofal points, there are also workout options to keep your body healthy, lean, flexible. Yoga, Pilates, Karate, Tae-Bo, etc.,etc. In addition there are several meditation and breathing techniques to keep the mind healthy: Buddhist or Vipassana, Transcendental meditation, even meditation in motion like Tai Chi, etc. But Aikido is a a practice that can help people balance body, mind and spirit:

  • It can be practiced from the age of 6 until very old age, if you do it continously.
  • There is no competition in Aikido. No tournaments, no points, no separation of levels, no fighting.
  • Aikido movements are very natural and enhance mobility and flexibility, as well a strength and precision.

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WOW! Incredible. This makes me want to take up Aikido. Thanks for sharing Alejandro!