Did the unthinkable (my Aikido journey)

TDWoj

Administrator
Staff member
Well, unthinkable for me, lumpen old girl that I am.

Went to my first aikido class today.

OW!

Well, I haven't done a roll since 1974, so that was quite something. In fact, I was scared of doing it - which is why I did it.

I have fused vertebrae in my neck, bone spurs on my spine which keep me in pain every day of my life, and joints that have never been anything but stiff since I was six years old. I have not moved this body in any way, except to walk, in 30 years. I can't even kneel properly - my knees just don't bend that far.

But I rolled on command. I did spend a lot of time apologising for being so inept, which is something I have to stop doing. I felt sorry for the guys who had an unobstructed view of my wide load, and couldn't help feeling embarrassed and humiliated at how poorly I was doing - until I realised no one was making fun of me, they were doing everything they could to help me.

(A completely different experience from my last visit to a fitness club, where perfectly toned women and the men they were there to pick up were relentless with their smartass comments about my weight, my intelligence quotient - fat people are stupid, you see - and inability to do certain exercises.)

The instructor even told me I could sit cross-legged instead of kneeling because of my arthritis. But I was determined to do everything right, even if I did it half the speed of everyone else, and didn't care about suffering excruciating pain because of over-compensating for my physical limitations for so long.

But I did it. I did it! I DID it!

I was exhausted at the end of the stretching exercises - but I did them all. I'm terrified of falling - but I fell as required. I have not been able to get up from a kneeling position without assistance in nearly 10 years - but I did it tonight.

I did get one move right, and the satisfaction from getting just one thing right made all the rest worthwhile.

This body has still got some life left in it, yet.

I'm signing up!

-TD, exhausted, in pain, and completely exhilerated by the experience
 

Serena

Administrator
Congratulations, TD! The toughest part was just getting yourself there to begin.
Well, maybe not the toughest. :D Ouch! :eek:
Good luck!
 

TDWoj

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks, Serena!

It was on my list of things to do this year. Maybe not that, specifically; but I needed to do something so that I didn't turn into a hunk of stone from sitting at my computer 8, 10, 12 hours per day.

What intrigued me was how really, really nice and patient everyone was. I don't think I've ever encountered a group of people where there wasn't at least one person whose life's ambition was to make the lives of everyone around them miserable. It was absolutely, utterly amazing.

I've always despaired that my body never worked properly. It never will, not really; but it might get to working better, and that's all I'm asking for.

The session finished off with a randori. It was fun seeing these strong, young (and yes, extremely good-looking!) fellows being thrown around by an old guy of 65 (who had started his training at age 54! There's hope for me after all, eh!).

I think I'm going to have to practice rolling, though... you'd think it would be easy, but it isn't, especially when one's body isn't accustomed to bending like that - or bending at all, for that matter!

-TD, still on her endorphin high, I guess
 

pantera

New Member
TDWoj said:
Well, unthinkable for me, lumpen old girl that I am.

Went to my first aikido class today.

OW!

Well, I haven't done a roll since 1974, so that was quite something. In fact, I was scared of doing it - which is why I did it.

I have fused vertebrae in my neck, bone spurs on my spine which keep me in pain every day of my life, and joints that have never been anything but stiff since I was six years old. I have not moved this body in any way, except to walk, in 30 years. I can't even kneel properly - my knees just don't bend that far.

But I rolled on command. I did spend a lot of time apologising for being so inept, which is something I have to stop doing. I felt sorry for the guys who had an unobstructed view of my wide load, and couldn't help feeling embarrassed and humiliated at how poorly I was doing - until I realised no one was making fun of me, they were doing everything they could to help me.

(A completely different experience from my last visit to a fitness club, where perfectly toned women and the men they were there to pick up were relentless with their smartass comments about my weight, my intelligence quotient - fat people are stupid, you see - and inability to do certain exercises.)

The instructor even told me I could sit cross-legged instead of kneeling because of my arthritis. But I was determined to do everything right, even if I did it half the speed of everyone else, and didn't care about suffering excruciating pain because of over-compensating for my physical limitations for so long.

But I did it. I did it! I DID it!

I was exhausted at the end of the stretching exercises - but I did them all. I'm terrified of falling - but I fell as required. I have not been able to get up from a kneeling position without assistance in nearly 10 years - but I did it tonight.

I did get one move right, and the satisfaction from getting just one thing right made all the rest worthwhile.

This body has still got some life left in it, yet.

I'm signing up!

-TD, exhausted, in pain, and completely exhilerated by the experience

The most important was to make a step forward. Tou did. That's great. It shows that you're stong and that you have desire.
It's normal that nobody made fun of you 'cos' the first think you learn in martfial arts is RESPECT for others; and especially respect for those who do their best to go forward. It's your case, so they sure have respect for you!
Your were anxious and stressed for your fist class, that was normal. But now keep it up, everything will go better and better. Your body will "appreciate" those exercises and i'm sure your mind will find a balance.
Congratulations for your courage.
Beste wishes, i think you can be proud of yourself!
 

Aikilove

Old member aikidoka
I have had a number of people with long time injuries start aikido at an age where they didn't realy think they would be able to progress much. Every single one have perservered and noticed that their chronicle pain (back pain, joint pain etc.) would decrease to a level they wouldn't dream of.
Just keep doing it. It will probably hurt quite a bit in the beginning, but some day you will find yourself realizing there is no pain anymore. I'm proud of you.

Take it easy in the beginning but push yourself to the next step just the same.

/J
 

Nico

Lost without you
Congratulations TD. I take my hat off to you, for actually going through with it and enduring your pain.

Nico
 

TDWoj

Administrator
Staff member
Amos Stevens said:
Thats great TD!

Don't worry,we can always put ya in a body cast & feed ya thru a straw!

There isn't a body cast big enough for this wide load - pity the poor guys who had an unobstructed view of it when I was trying the rolls. :eek:

They're having a four-hour full "beginner's" class on Saturday. I hope I can unseize my muscles before then!

(And I hope I don't talk myself out of going because of still being afraid of rolling.)

-TD, typing very, very slowly
 

TDWoj

Administrator
Staff member
You're a strong man, then, Amos... been working out?

-TD, in less pain now but about to talk herself out of going anyway
 

Amos Stevens

New Member
Don't give up TD...be positive! Whats the worst that can happen-they have to call the paramedics :) Maybe he will be cute & single :)
 

TDWoj

Administrator
Staff member
All the cute single ones are being selfless at the moment and helping people out in the tsunami hit areas. No help for this fat old cow if she falls and breaks her neck; I'll just be swept out onto the road along with the rest of the garbage.

I'm going to go, anyhow. Goodness only knows how I'm going to pay for this. No money until next week, and I was stupid enough to use my carefully budgeted grocery money to buy dinner for a homeless person, and give him bus fare to a shelter.

I have to do something to this "nice face" and kind-heartedness that I project. I'm going to go bankrupt....

-TD

...

Anyway, I'm still dithering about going to the class. I want to; I need to do something to help my health and well-being, for sure, and this as good as anything (and relatively cheap); but it's pretty clear I'm going to fail at this as I have at everything else I've ever tried, and the effort expended to achieve failure seems hardly worth it. :(

-TD, tired and wanting to run away from home
 

TDWoj

Administrator
Staff member
Well, I went to my second class today.

No, I'm not going to give a blow-by-blow account of each class, but I did want to mention this one. It was a special 3-hour "free" seminar for new members. I was determined to stick it out to the end, but alas... I'd forgotten to eat before going, and about an hour and 40 minutes in, I suddenly had a bad case of the shakes. I thought it was the exertion, but it was low blood sugar and dehydration (stupid diabetes), so I had to stop, drink water and eat an orange, or fall down in a dead faint. I thought that didn't happen with Type II diabetes... I guess I'm going to be going on meds sooner than I thought.

I'm also still terrified of falling, so I couldn't be a proper uke for my partner when we moved onto the moves that required rolling out of.

However, I did do rather better with the sword than I expected. Even the instructor was surprised... Holding the sword and doing the basic moves seemed like the most natural thing in the world to me. (Okay, Amos - you'd better watch out, now!)

I signed up for three months. I thought, what the heck. I wanted to do something different and unexpected this year, and this is likely to be it. Three months won't kill me.... Mind you, it was pretty embarrassing that the gi didn't fit. I had to take the largest size they had and it still just barely meets in the middle. I guess I'll have to do something about that, too! I have some serious sewing to do tomorrow to shorten the sleeves and the legs, and I won't be able to wash it in hot water for some time, which means the fabric around the neck is going to remain pretty stiff.

They asked us why we wanted to do aikido, what brought us there. Not one person mentioned Steven Seagal, so I kept my mouth firmly shut on that score.

Apparently, the group I joined is affiliated with the headquarters in Japan, not with the North American federation based in New York. I need to find out more about this.

Anyway, I'm tired and sore as heck (don't be fooled by appearances - this is a really difficult discipline, for all it looks so easy!) and I had the best time ever!

I just wish I could remember the exercises so that I can practice them at home. I think they will really help in loosening up these stiff joints, though it's doubtful I'll ever achieve full flexibility, seeing as I never had it in the first place. My tilted hip is also proving to be a liability since any work I do on the right side I end up losing my balance.

Anyway, a fun time was had by all, especially me!

-TD, wondering how she's going to negotiate the distance between the computer and the bed without making any further insults to her poor, tired muscles....
 

suziwong

Administrator
Staff member
They asked us why we wanted to do aikido, what brought us there. Not one person mentioned Steven Seagal, so I kept my mouth firmly shut on that score.

hihihihihihihihi !!
TD, you are really wonderful and special !!

sincerely

suzi
 

TDWoj

Administrator
Staff member
suziwong said:
hihihihihihihihi !!
TD, you are really wonderful and special !!

sincerely

suzi

Well, I don't know how wonderful or special I am; I'm already beginning to have second thoughts about continuing on with this insane idea! But I've paid for my first three months, so I'm determined to put my best effort into it.

But I did not mention Steven when asked why I joined; partly because no one else mentioned him, but mostly because it's not really because of him, except indirectly, that I chose aikido. And now it's turning out to be harder than I expected because of my physical limitations. They make it unlikely I'll be able to learn the form at all with any kind of proficiency. And I don't how long it'll take, if ever, before I get over being afraid to fall.

-TD, worried that once again, her body is going to let her down
 

Amos Stevens

New Member
I will keep the ladies between you & your sword & me TD!
Why am I wondering what the heck are you doing practicing with a sword already?

Moving between computer & bed? Either get a skateboard or crawl or just sleep by the computer :)

Seriously, remember to eat SOMETHING around meal times!
 

Isa Marie

Banned
That's great TD !!:D I am happy for you !!

I left my practices behind cause a surgery I have to do. I had an accident at dojo and it makes me too sad because I miss it very much!! Then..I'm glad for you. It seems that this wonderful art will never stop !!! :D

Congratulations !!!
 

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TDWoj

Administrator
Staff member
Amos Stevens said:
I will keep the ladies between you & your sword & me TD!
Why am I wondering what the heck are you doing practicing with a sword already?

Moving between computer & bed? Either get a skateboard or crawl or just sleep by the computer :)

Seriously, remember to eat SOMETHING around meal times!

It was an introductory seminar so they showed all the things you are likely to learn. The sword stuff was easier for me than the other techniques. However, no swords for me for a long time, I guess! I just hope I make it through my three months without doing myself a serious injury!

Oh, and don't worry Amos - I probably wouldn't be able to catch you, anyway! :D

-TD, feeling less discouraged but still apprehensive about the wisdom of this idea (what was I thinking?)
 
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