Many of these Sensei have three decades (or more) in the martial arts and many are in their fifties, sixties and a couple in their seventies. These martial artists, many of which I consider masters, all have their aches and pains.
They've all lived, worked hard, and have dedicated themselves to their chosen art(s). As such, they each pop, limp, seize, groan, twinge, or otherwise show the associated wear and tear that is the life of most long term martial artists. Heck, I'm doing half of these things, and I'm far from their level...
I had the opportunity to sit back and watch my own Sensei from the perspective of a spectator, which is somewhat rare. His uke for the day was a talented and young black belt, largely free from any age related ailments. Bottom line, he was young and fit enough to be tossed around pretty hard.
Watching my Sensei, I was reminded just how good he was. When he wasn't limited by my limitations or his other more junior students, I got a peek at what he was truly capable of. I barely recognized him. He reminded me of the first time I set eyes on him, some 20 plus years ago, but he was even better. He moved effortlessly, smoothly, and he tossed this young lad around like he was nothing. It was awesome to watch.
It was later that I saw the Yoda connection.
Why the Yoda reference? This man, my Sensei, a master in my estimation, not an hour previous, had walked into the dojo, tired after a day of physical labour, his back was sore, his trick knee a bit dodgy, he had a bit of a cold.
That person was transformed into a Jedi master. It reminded me of the Yoda fight scene in the new Star Wars movies (not a big fan of the new ones, loved the originals...). Yoda comes walking in on a cane, all Yoda-like, but then uses the force and has an epic battle with the evil dude.
Call it ki, qi, chi, the force, or martial magic, when you see it or feel it, it's impossible to deny that there's not something else going on. Maybe there's something to this whole 'energy work' thing. I'm amazed by it, I want it and I hope I get it one day.
Imagine realizing that my Sensei is just like Yoda. Wow. Star Wars was so cool...