As a 52 year old 5 year aikido beginner I have observed a few things regarding consistency.
• When I started I didn’t have endurance to be mentally present, so I had to develop endurance. I did that by breathing. ALOT. Learning to exhale at the most extreme part of the movement took time but as I learned my aikido endurance went up; as did my ability to learn. Also don’t be shy about the rate or loudness of breathing. If you feel like you are in oxygen debt, back off, recover for no more than 2 minutes (use the dojo clock) and then jump back in. Keep repeating that throughout class and your endurance will improve.
• Physically relaxing was also something that had to be learned. I learned that when I exhaled…I would also physically relax. It was MUCH later I realized how important relaxation was to having good technique and receiving ukemi so that my partner would get a meaningful repetition. Besides exhaling I found working with specific people would lower my natural anxiety – by going slower everything seemed to fit.
• My final observation was about body composition. When I started Aikido I was “loaded” with upper body muscle due to doing a ton of push-ups. As I stopped the push-ups my body became lighter and more supple. I lost 25 pounds over the first few years and that enabled me to breath better, relax and move better.