Growing Old with Martial Arts

Martial Artist get sick, have accidents, become disabled. This forum will focus on how these individuals cope with their condition while staying active in the martial arts and while living life to the fullest. Administered by Sensei Bill Bauknecht. He's been there and doing great! (You don't need to register in order to post here!)

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Growing Old with Martial Arts

Postby kelly » Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:13 pm

While I'm still a little young to think about this for myself, my instructor at school has been noticing that his body hasn't been functioning as well as it used to when it comes to martial arts. I was wondering if there might be any suggestions that the older crowd has for augmenting training for seniors. Thanks!
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Postby Bill Bauknecht » Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:25 pm

Hi Kelly,
Sorry you have had no response to your question. I probably fall into that catagory you are talking about. I am ahh,,,rather old,,,and have some health issues as well. Though I am still able to teach, I have to be very careful not to hurt myself especially taking care not to break bones. It is very hard to dial things back after working and teaching "hard" for many years. Working out for those seniors who start their training late in life is different than someone, like me, who has been training for 35years or more and suddenly has to back off and work much more softly, if that is the proper word. It has taken a long time for me to accept the fact that I just can't pour it on anymore. I have finally been able to work my katas in a way that I feel keeps me mentally active along with the physical that helps me exercise. One should never overwork themselves to the point that they are hurting during the workout or the next day. Start working slow and easy and work up to a point where you complete each move and end with a certain amount of focus. The workout can be increased if your body tells you it's OK. Disicpline is very important, you become your own teacher.
If you have a broken leg, obviously you do not kick. If you are an older person, same thing. You work up to your own limits. Age itself should never stop one from working out. Just stay within your own limits. Hope this helps.
Bill B.
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Old or Old Style

Postby Philstef » Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:51 am

There is an aspect of training often overlooked by practitioners; internal development. Internal practice is no less physical though it taps different resources, mental and spiritual, where the battle is quietly fought over ones inner demons for toughness or tenacity. It's a different kind of training for sure. It is heat without sweat, tendon strength not muscle. These areas of develop offer reward at any age. In fact, someone searching for external strength and blazing speed will miss it. Often overlooked, this aspect of our internal martial arts is sometimes dismissed in our zeal for fast rewards in the early years of training Age sometimes sharpens ones appreciation for what is important in any lifelong pursuit. Philstef
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Postby Bill Bauknecht » Tue Jan 06, 2009 5:32 pm

Well Said. I know through my personnal experience that even being confined to bed, and I'm sure many have found themselves falling asleep while performing a mental kata, one's ability to still "work out" helps both physically and mentally. Don't you find that while doing a mental kata you focus on the end of each move? Finishing each move mentally will also stimulate you physically. I don't think this a secret but just another part of our training.
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Mental Refresh

Postby Philstef » Wed Jan 07, 2009 1:23 am

Yes. I think I understand what you mean but like refreshing. A mental pause. Yes. I was thinking more along the lines of holding a horse stance, if shallow, for a long, long time with hands raised at mouth level, concentrating on slow breathing. This is somewhat meditative without movement though I suppose envisioning kata or a form would be interesting. I'll have to get back to you on that Bill! Thank you for your comment. Philstef
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Postby Bill Bauknecht » Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:59 pm

I think I understand your meaning Philstef. I believe this is similar to going through a form very very slowly. Concentration is the key and it gives one the opportunity to work each and every move. Staying down and "feeling" any weakness one may pick up and correct. This requires total concentration from start to finish and can be done as slow as one feels is right for them, even hesitatating longer as you mentioned. I also believe that seniors should take the time to monitor their own kata this way and use it to demonstrate the kata to their students. It should not be used just in forms either. It's a great teaching aid and at the same time helps to keep the instructor "sharp."
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That's It Exactly Bill

Postby Philstef » Fri Jan 09, 2009 1:33 am

Yes, exactly!!! It benefits the same way lifting very small weights and performing exercise slowly does. Many body builders swear by this slow, low weight method and when you do it, you quickly understand why.

It takes age out of the equation. By adding mental and spiritual toughness, (adding the internal battle) rather than raw skill or physical prowess, it challenges everyone equally. (Though I think those of us with years under our belt or those of us in the internal martial arts can more readily identify and find greater areas of expression for meditative and internal aspects or our training; tendon development, tenacity etc.).

Best wishes. Philstef
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