This Old Man Must Keep Practicing

Resting on laurels is one of the most dangerous of self-deceptions than can corrode the life of a human being.

It leads to stagnant rot and complacency.

Individuals boast of “once having,” done this or that. Or that they, “used to,” “do wonders,” that usually they no longer can. So they tell tall tales that cannot be proven, to impress others and massage their own ego.

The fact remains, what the brain thinks, the inactive body forgets how to. The active body can, however, over time, make it possible! Simply try, and keep repeating. The law of great nature is: Use it or lose it! More so: Use it often and it will improve over time.

Skill in ACTION is the only skill. Thoughts, hopes and wishes about skill, are just thoughts. Fantasy.

Skill, when kept active, will augment and fine tune with age and because of natural changes will become more efficient with the growing of wisdom that results.

Do nothing, neglect regular practice and the relevant skills will decay very fast, accumulating “rust,” the equivalent in the brain and nervous system being the accumulation of Lipofuscin deposits, also known as ageing pigment which can appear in nerve cells, heart, muscle, kidney, liver, ganglion cells and adrenals.

The brown ‘liver spots’ on either the face or hands of older people is evidence of Lipofuscin deposits.

Whilst the pigment isn’t really harmful, as it is not toxic as such, large clusters of accumulated Lipofuscin can hinder cells to function normally. In simple terms the accumulation of the pigment can be considered as stocking of garbage causing internal blockage to the cells.

Regular moderate activity can flush these out.

The accumulation of these pigments becomes a severe problem once they affect non-dividing (post-mitotic) cells. Among post-mitotic cells we have brain, muscle, cardiac myocytes and mostly nerve cells. It has been identified that Lipofuscin that has accumulated in brain cells seems to have a direct relationship with heavy alcohol consumption. Significant accumulation of Lipofuscin in the heart is black in appearance during surgery. Why do that to yourself?

Lipofuscin accumulation can lead to various age-related illnesses. This includes severe health predicaments such as vision loss, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, melanosis coli and denervative atrophy and many others.

The key to fight against Lipofuscin accumulation is to try to avoid oxidative damage. This will reduce the development of Lipofuscin.  To achieve this, it is necessary to refrain from ingesting toxic substances. To support the immune system proper high quality diet, exercise and recovery is essential.

Good food, good hydration, good rest and sleep, regular training and recovery and good lifestyle habits all help in maintenance of this remarkable vehicle of consciousness most people neglect, the human body.

The, “All or nothing syndrome,” is another dangerous snare. It goes something like this: “If I can’t be better than everyone else, I cut my nose to spite their faces and simply rot or damage myself.” Not smart.

Never mind striving to become the “champeen of all the world,” an ego-trip with a very brief window. Rather continue to be the best that you can be for today. And don’t miss training.

An active body-mind connection stays a healthy body-mind connection and a neglected one falls apart into delusion, which one way or the other, is fatal.

O’ Sensei, during his final day incarnate on this earth, got out of his deathbed and was found practicing Aikido in the dojo with some children. His son had the temerity to scold him. The old man replied, “This old man must keep practicing.”

That is the only correct attitude. He knew that he had not arrived. Indeed there is no arrival as such. But advancement can be as vast as the universe.

Never mind the fables of yesterday too much. Today is a new horizon of opportunity in the great adventure which is life.

Take a leaf out of the Master’s book and simply keep training regularly.

Nev Sagiba


  1. I just turned 70 a couple of weeks ago. I train twice a week. In addition to training with adults, I am now helping with the kids class. It feels good… This old man must keep practicing !

  2. I am so grateful of your words. I have had to come to term with myself and my practice. After a period of meditating and thinking about my Aikido practice I’ve decided to keep training taking care of my body. I don’t need to prove anything to anyone and least of all to myself anymore. I’ll train just for the love of the art! Thanks again, mcr

  3. Yes! I started aikido in my 64th year. I’m 70 now and I will train for the rest of my life. For me, aikido is connection and as O’ Sensei has taught, it is love. I believe that love comes from within and it is the training in aikido, on a continuing basis, both on and off the mat that enables me to connect with myself, with others and with everything that is.

  4. As we grow older our body’s becomes less agile and subtle. Through the internet and many books written on martial arts people all over the world know the health benefits of Tai Chi. So we can keep our fitness level in to old age.

  5. That old man on the mountain here….


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