Aikido is suitable for the young and the elderly, both men and women, because Aikidoka’s do not rely on muscle power when performing the techniques. Often you see all sorts of ages training together where everyone’s interests can come up. Young people will gladly throw themselves during break-fall training, while the older practitioners often concentrate on the relaxed exercise of the learned techniques.
One goes in search of a way to balance his partner with a minimum of strength. Both “advanced” and “beginners” work together during the lessons. Everybody searches in cooperation with his partner for a certain form, a specific technique. This happens at everyone’s own level and pace. A fast or hard execution is no guarantee for a correct technique.
The practitioners of Aikido (or Aikidoka’s) are characterized by different motivations. There are those who come for the aspect of self-defense, to be able to maintain themselves in certain situations, for example on the street. If they do not expect results within two weeks, they can learn a lot of Aikido. One will then notice over time that the skills of Aikido also lend themselves perfectly in less threatening or aggressive circumstances of daily life, such as in meetings and conversations.
Others do Aikido ‘just to keep fit’. It is very suited for maintaining the body, because both effort and relaxation are covered. In addition, we do not develop unilaterally certain muscle groups, where some other ‘sports’ go wrong. In an extensive warm-up, before the characteristic Aikido techniques are practiced, a very varied program of stretching is performed.
Over time, the Aikidoka will discover that Aikido has a positive influence, especially on a physical as a moral level and possibly also on a spiritual level. Gradually, practitioners become smoother and stronger. The relaxed and good-natured atmosphere that usually prevails in an Aikido dojo certainly contributes to this.