By Ian Williams
Three major things happened to me in 2018; I turned 50, The business I worked for changed ownership and I stopped training in the art I had done for nearly 30 years. For a variety of reasons stemming from that, I stopped any physical activity, and my diet was horrendous. I gained over 16 kilograms in less than 12 months. After a routine check-up, I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes. That was the wakeup call I needed. My GP advised that I should be able to manage the condition if I lost some weight and exercise would be the go.
I had regularly noticed the sign advertising Yoshinkan Aikido on the side of the road on my way home from work and having had a brief introduction to Aikido when I was much younger, thought “that’s worth a crack”.
Like most students who walk into the Dojo for the first time, I was a little intimidated by the techniques being used by the senior students and thought how am I going to learn that!
But once I was on the mat, I experienced a sense of welcoming and support from not only Ryan Sensei, but all the students training. This has not been a one off but continues every time I’m on the mat and hopefully new students coming in get the same feeling from their interactions with me.
My goal in getting on the mat was never to achieve a black belt, but purely to get healthy, both body and mind,by doing something I enjoyed. Once I knew this was for me, I set simple achievable goals, the first one was to get through the warm up.
Going to training has never had a second thought, though I’m sure I’ve amused fellow students with my dazed looks of confusion, I blame those sessions on a long day at work….
Ryan Sensei’s patience has seen no end, despite giving me the same instruction repeatedly and me continuing to do the same action. I am pleased to say I no longer hear “180 degrees” as much and have moved onto “connection”.
Being a mature aged student, I sometimes get frustrated with some physical challenges in line with my aging body, Ryan Sensei reminds me that I’m not 25 and adjusts my training/techniques to suit what ever the latest injury or body part that is failing.
I have really enjoyed my Aikido journey so far, the techniques and the people. Achieving my Shodan has been a rather pleasant surprise in my path of learning. A huge thank you to Ryan Sensei and all the black belts.
Oh yes, those who don’t know how training affected the pre-diabetes diagnosis – I lost the weight in twelve months and haven’t had a high reading since!