Noon Zen Aikido Classes (Not Just For the Retired Crowd)

aikido on the beach - retiredA few years ago, I turned 60 and retired. I have now been practicing both Zen and Aikido for nearly 30 years. And with each passing year, I become more and more convinced of two simple facts:

  • Age alone will guarantee neither true wisdom nor lasting happiness.
  • A healthy, conditioned body, an active mind and a clear understanding of what it means to be truly alive are all necessary to positively work our way through life’s senior years

With this in mind, I have put together a noon Zen Aikido Class somewhat tailored for dedicated martial arts students, 50 and over. (If you’ve never studied a martial art, you may still be a dedicated martial arts student, you just don’t know it yet.)

Is Zen Aikido for you?

  1. Do you really want a healthy, conditioned body, an active mind and a clear understanding of what it means to be truly alive?
  2. Does the idea of getting a black belt in such a powerful, graceful, lifelong art as Aikido seem to grab you?
  3. Can you sit cross-legged fairly comfortably?
  4. Can you drop down to one knee and stand back up without knee pain?
  5. Will your doctor clear you for moderately vigorous exercise?
  6. Are you really willing to give this a fair shot (3 months, 6 month, a year)?
  7. Do you want to see more clearly and move more freely? (It’s very unlikely that you do either very well now.)
  8. Would you like to learn to meditate?

Some indications that this class may not be for you:

  • active retired aikido throwIf you can’t decide between yoga and Aikido,
  • If you can’t see yourself wanting to work hard and sweat and push yourself through the demands of learning such a powerful, graceful art,
  • If you can’t see yourself putting in extra practice at home with footwork and balance drills or working out in the backyard with a bokken (wooden sword) or jo (short staff).

As a complete martial art,  Aikido is made for us – for the retired …

  • Learning the art is a constant challenge both mentally and physically.
  • As a self-defense, it does not depend on flexibility, strength or speed.
  • It is ideal for both men and women.
  • It is easily adapted to previous injuries (just as long as you can still fall down and get up).
  • Practice will inevitably increase your core strength, your balance and your ability to turn and move.
  • Once learned, you will be able to readily train with other Aikido students of any age, speed or strength.

Be sure to poke around the website. You will see that this is definitely not ‘marine style’ training, but it does take a sincerity, a seriousness and a persistence that can only come from inside you. In poking around, you should be able to get all the info you need about the next starting class. I am also happy to answer any questions – leave a comment below or e-mail me. Also, if the noon class does not fit your schedule, consider the Tuesday-Thursday evening class. It is a little less ‘senior-centric’ but is very doable for most.

And finally some bluntness. Both Hands Clapping Zen Aikido classes are not for everyone. As seniors (and near-seniors), our time is too precious to spend it where we don’t belong. I don’t want to waste your time, and you should not want to waste your time. If you are serious about learning Aikido, you will get everything I have learned these last 25+ years. If you are not serious about learning Aikido or if you do not know if you are serious about learning Aikido or if you are just looking for something to fill your afternoons … best to look somewhere else.

And the best to you, whatever you decide. Peace.
Jim.

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