So, I spent the weekend in Phoenix getting ground into a mat with about a hundred other guys and gals. Holding onto a seventh dan (7th degree black belt) aikidoist is a lot like holding onto a threshing machine. It doesn’t do much to the threshing machine but it’s all sorts of fun for you. I had fun, I got sore, I learned things, and I was promoted a rank.
However, I am getting into the evening and I find all my brilliant notions for my official post are being ground into a thick, greasy layer of fatigue and muscle soreness. Martial Arts in your fifties has some interesting drawbacks.
But it has some interesting benefits, too.
Writing, as a lot of us know, is about as sedentary a profession as you can get. I suspect that a combination career of recliner tester and french fry quality control might be worse, but not much. At least our brains are really moving if not our bodies, but it’s a really good thing that occasionally I get out of the office, go down to the dojo, and fall down a lot.
I know people my age and older who fall down and its not intentional. There are serious consequences.
Now, this isn’t to say I don’t fall down unintentionally, too. I think everyone does, eventually, but when I do it, a twelve-year conditioned set of reflexes comes into play and there is usually minimal damage.
Laura jokes that Aikido is my mid-life crisis. Though I did Judo and Karate as a kid (through high-school), I didn’t start Aikido until I was 40 and I’ve stuck with it. So, apparently I don’t get to have a sports car or a mistress or any of the other usual mid-life thingies, and, frankly, that’s all right with me.
My mid-life crisis helps me fall down, helps me keep the weight off, and gives me confidence that keeps me calm in those dangerous confrontational situations like, say, waking up an eleven-year-old who really needs to get dressed for school.
This is not a bad mid-life crisis to have.
(But if anybody has a Tesla they want to give away, I’m game.)
Excuse me, I need to go take some ibuprophen.