Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Babushka Ryu Aikido

Below is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the Siberian Times (!). It's about a local aikido club that has more than it's fair share of grandmas who have been training for over 10 years. The full article may be read here. Please follow the link, you'll be glad you did.

For myself, it is my goal to be the toughest guy in the nursing home one day.

A unique fight club for babushkas has celebrated its 10th anniversary in Siberia. More than a dozen elderly ladies are members of the Yoshinkan Aikido group in Novosibirsk, and gather to spar and throw one another about. Formed in 2005 as a way to get the older generation thinking about their health, it is thought this is still the only group of its kind in the world.
Dubbed the 'aiki-babushkas', the women who take part say they feel as if they have turned back the clock and are fitter and more confident than previously in their lives.
'We train with pleasure,' said 77-year-old Svetlana Tyukova, who has already survived a heart attack. 'We've already devoted 10 years to it. I can't just give it up. When we were told we would get a black belt one day, we were laughing and didn't really believe it.
'At the very beginning we trained until we were exhausted and even the warm-up was very intensive and we were sweating. But as time went by, we got used to it.
'The classes are interesting because they keep your brain alert. You need to know Japanese commands, you need to understand your sparring partner, and you need to feel the timing of the hit. It’s very important to be well-coordinated.'
She added: 'The brain is constantly working during classes. You come here, leave everything outside, and you’re totally in aikido.'
The idea for a group was initially conceived by SibAkademBank, which was rolling out a financial awareness programme amongst the elderly. At the time, in 2004, the older generation embraced trying to learn about new technologies so the bank president suggested: 'Let's also try to teach them aikido too.'
On February 8, 2005, a number of older ladies turned up at the Victoria fencing club to try their hand at the sport of Japanese aikido. A decade on and half of the original 30 women still practice the skill.

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