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On Aikido, Health and Aging

by Stanley Pranin

Aiki News #12 (May 1975)

The following article was prepared with the kind assistance of Thomas Potter of the USA.

Seeing Osawa Sensei on his recent visit to the U.S. made me reflect on a number of topics concerning regular aikido practice throughout the course of one’s life. Osawa Sensei is an outwardly reserved, elderly gentleman whose physical appearance is not the least bit imposing. Clad in a keikogi, however, he is transformed into a dynamic and resourceful magician who moves about with cat-like grace. He is the product of some forty years of training in aikido and is a model for younger aikidoists in many respects. The 67-yr-old 9th-dan is indeed testimony to the fact that one can grow old gracefully in aikido while maintaining much of the vigor and vitality of youth. And with the passing of years comes a maturity and intelligence, often subtle in nature, yet far-reaching in its consequences, both on and off the mat.

One need look no further than O-Sensei for another perfect example of the case in question. The Founder remained physically active until the end of his long life. Despite the ravages of disease and the consequent deterioration of his body, he was capable of summoning forth a dazzling energy from some unknown source when demonstrating the budo he originated.

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