Falling Down

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.

10 thoughts on “Falling Down

  1. Vicodin works better for that than Ibuprofen. I’ll mail you some.

    Incidentally, do they teach you upper-level masters that thing where you can snatch somebody’s living heart out of their chest?

    And that bit about people your age falling down unintentionally…. You weren’t thinking of anyone in particular, were you, hmmmmmm?

  2. Vicodin may relieve pain but it does not relieve inflammation nor reduce swelling. And, it makes you stooooooopid leading to greater injuries if you practice falling down under its influence.

    The living heart thing gets blood on the mat so we have to practice on drained cadavers.

    Falling down? Why, what do you mean?

  3. Where do you get your drained cadavers from? Cause around here they’re not exactly thick on the ground.

    I honor your effort, Steve. The very thought of all that work makes me want to lie down.

  4. The vampires bring ’em.

    But seriously, back when I was studying with my first instructor and we were doing iriminage (irimi means enter, nage means throw) you go from in front of your opponent to behind them in one step as they are attacking you–my instructor would shout out, “Faster–vampire speed!”

    And there is an aspect of this to certain aikido movement. Here you were minding your own business, just hitting some guy in the head with a pipe, and suddenly the jerk is standing behind you. It’s unsettling.

  5. Congratulations, Steve. Sandan? I’ve never seen Shibata Sensei conduct tests, aside from the impromptu middle-of-class one last fall at your dojo. Or is that typical?

    I hope the book is progressing well.


  6. Hey, Steve!

    Wasn’t tests. Okuyama Sensei called us over and pointed at the wall where a list had been posted.

    Eight listed promotions and four of them were from our dojo.

    By the way, I did finish the book so you can send some stuff now.

  7. Congrats on the book too. I’ll send you some stuff next week. Thanks again for the generous offer.

    What to send, what to send…


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