Hi Bill, John C. and Al,
I had the pleasure of watching a Shodan promotion demonstration in our dojo yesterday. The discussion as to how well we think we can still perform our kata is relevant to what I saw during this demo.
Three students were going for their shodan. Two of them were relatively young, early thirty-ish, and the third was fifty five. He didn't start training til he was fifty one. All of them performed very well, it sent chills up my spine and I was very proud to see how well they did.
But one noticible difference between the older( ahem.... more mature) student and his younger counterparts was the way he paced himself throughout the test. The young bulls were going 110%. Very powerful but obviously taxing themselves. You could see it in their breathing. Hey, I'm sure they were quite excited. Been there, done it myself. But the older fellow whom I'm sure is much more aware of his physical limitations, showed power where power needed to be seen, reasonable speed, and excellent technique. I was impressed.
I guess this is one aspect of how we customize our individual karate to ourselves. Whether it's age, and old injury that limits the range of movement, or any other gamut of things that change our bodies, we can still find ways to make our karate effective.
Here's to aging gracefully!<G>