Training for older people

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by Gnarlie, Mar 26, 2015.

  1. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Just my two cents. There are a number of different ways in which people learn. Lots of different models. The VAK / VARK model is just one (Visual, Auditory, Read/Write, Kinesthetic).

    I personally think that there are numerous learning styles. I'm a big believer in Gardner's idea that there are multiple kinds of intelligence, and how we learn has to do with how comfortable we are in each of the various areas. Sure, visual, auditory and kinesthetic, but also verbal (where people learn by talking through things, as Tez and others have discussed), logical (where people have to puzzle through what they're learning until it's assimilated into some mental model or a formula). There area also people who learn best in groups and those who learn best on their own (social or solo learners). How we learn is a function of our personality, generational conditioning and aptitude.

    The best training is the training that accommodates all of these.

    I just think that the age thing is one small part of the entire package.
     
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  2. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    They have the option to join the other classes.

    The main reasons for asking the question from my perspective were that there are people in the group who have been training on and off since the 60's - not black belts, but sure enough a wealth of experience and they certainly remember some training practices that I find interesting. The fact that they started before I was born, that's one thing.

    The other thing is that I would have asked a similar question about any split group that was new to me, for example I sometimes train a group of kids from a local international school, where there are definitely language and cultural consideration to think about. I have asked questions about that elsewhere online.

    I didn't ask the age question because they are older, but because they are split, and that split a) might exist through their choice, I don't know the history and b) might be an opportunity, but I wasn't sure how to make the most of it with them.

    If best for them is merge them with the other groups, then so be it, but I do get the feeling they wouldn't enjoy the same things as a group of teenagers...I feel they have different tastes.
     
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  3. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    One thing that changes with age and experience is the relative amount of knowledge that one has to assimilate new knowledge and experience into.

    It's the reason why the years seem to get faster as you get older, which seems to be already happening for me.

    It's interesting to note that this group all respond more positively to explanation of reasoning, and demonstration if a complete movement. As opposed to breaking movement into sub movement.
     
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  4. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    This is really true, but I personally believe that it's more a function of experience than of age (although I agree with you completely that the two are a common pair. :)) As we all learn, we create structures and models to organize and assimilate all of the information we are learning. As we see things that are familiar, we can easily associate them within our model. When things are new, we struggle more because we lack a frame of reference with which to associate the new information.

    When you train a beginner, they have no model... no frame of reference. So, you have to provide the teaching point AND some kind of context for them so that they having some place to attach the teaching point. Otherwise, the lesson is out of context. However, providing too much context for someone who is experienced can actually distract them and impede their learning.

    It's like when you train a rank beginner vs a black belt. The beginner needs to learn the model... whether it's simple drills in foundational techniques, kata, or whatever else. There has to be a model that is taught first. Once the model is learned, you begin to hang details on it. The details fill out the model like leaves on a tree.

    This is also why learning a similar style to one you already know can be challenging at first. Mentally, we have to accommodate information that conflicts with our well developed mental model. Where you have details that are slightly different, the adjustments can be pretty easy. But where styles conflict on a foundational level, it can be harder for you to learn it than if you were a rank beginner. For example, the difference between how one style of karate performs a kata to another vs the difference between how okinawan karate stands vs how a WC/WT practitioner stands.

    I hope this makes sense.
     
  5. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    It absolutely does, and it impacts the way I should deliver information to such a group. They are not life beginners, but some of them are beginners in Taekwondo. They have a framework in many cases, from other sports of even from personal experience of fighting in the military.

    A daunting group, really. Hence my questions.
     
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  6. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm sure they will be kind to you ;)
     
  7. TrueJim

    TrueJim Master Black Belt

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    This is slightly off-topic...

    Way back in the day, when I was in grad school, I would get stuck teaching evening Calculus classes to all the middle-aged men who were pursuing new degrees to re-energize their careers, and all the middle-aged women whose children had gone off to college who now wanted to start new careers (these were considered the bottom-of-the-barrel teaching assignments, fit only for lowly grad students). Talk about being kind to you! These were the most rewarding students I ever had!

    These students were all generally terrified that I was going to turn out to be some sort of monster teacher: piling on ginormous amounts of homework, going through the material so quickly that they would never be able to keep up, and generally giving them a hard time for the fact that high school algebra was a long-forgotten memory. Of course, that's not how I taught. I did my best to make it fun for them, low stress, low pressure. I knew they had day-jobs, and were dragging their sorry butts into class, weary after too-long days. They were always so freaking appreciative that I wasn't busting their butts, and at the same time they learned a lot of math.

    The moral of the story, at least for me: older students are often the best.
     
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  8. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    Not so much speed as knowing 'when' to move makes those less experienced appear to be slow motion. I also worked in education. It does help as many 'Sensei' out there are excellent practitioners buy have no teaching qualifications.

    I clearly remember getting thrown into a ten practices a week routine in my early twenties and found and saw around me kids already with 12 years experience and thought OMG I am already too old to catch up. But I found out its the maturity that gets you there. You can push a young student to phenomenal levels but the thought process wont change until he get older. There really is something to be said for getting old as we are far more economizing in both thought and actions.
     
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  9. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm picturing myself as one of the students.....

    I'd like more hand techniques than kicking techniques.
    I'd like more techniques to thwart young kickers.
    I'd like some amount of exercise, geared to an older person's needs, included in the class. Core work, flexibility exercises for the back and shoulders, strength work for keeping knees healthy.
     
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  10. Balrog

    Balrog Master of Arts

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    Speak for yourself!! :D

    Since the class is older folks, I don't think you'll need to worry about them trying to do what the young whippersnappers do. Simply push them to the best of their individual abilities.
     
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  11. Instructor

    Instructor Master Black Belt

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    Sounds like the class I teach.
     
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  12. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    We have 1 class. And do half an hour of conditioning a day designed to put fighters in a ring. But it is mostly an individual pursuit.

    It is mostly core flexibility and so on.

    It does take a few years for your body to condition to the unfamiliar moments of martial arts. So you have to manage the "I cant do it" factor with what may be physically detrimental.
     
  13. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Interestingly we are more students now that we are expecting them to train to our standard rather than us train to theirs.

    I think this is especially relevant to older people who just get to this point where the say they are just going to do what it takes and want to be in an environment where they are going to get that.

    And the reason is people are getting quick results.

    I think this is reflected in the cross fit mentality. (although they tend to injure people a bit)
     
  14. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    My training is Kung Fu and we always ask people about joint injuries, back injuries, or any other type of injury that we need to be aware of. We ask this so that we can adjust the lessons or forms so that the student doesn't injure himself (herself). We encourage students to train within their abilities and capabilities. If you can't kick high then don't kick high. Kung Fu uses low kicks so we can substitute a low kick for a high kick.

    Speaking as a person in my 40's, I don't heal as fast as I used to. So I rather stay injury free for a as long as possible. Nothing is as discouraging loving martial arts and not being able to practice because of an injury.
     
  15. Master Dan

    Master Dan Master Black Belt

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    I have 20 years plus in specific training for that age group, I consider myself one of the best at is it not from me but all the talented people and health care professionals that passed on their knowledge along the way over the last 40 years. I have seen some of the most ridiculous people walk in to teach a class with older participants more interested in how they look and their personal ego. This causes people injury and undue stress. The goal of all training is to build the person up and initial training soreness should leave after two weeks. First anyone leading a class who is not familiar with each and every student before class should start with a warning on how to move and prevent injury. Low impact Isometric movements build inner core and muscle group strength as well as balance to prevent falls. The leading cause of death in ages over 50 is complications related to a fall. I had one women come in said oh I lift weights I am in good shape and I counseled her to slow down and she destroyed her knee running and twisting? Training after 40 should be for health, self defense and mental and emotional well being. Every person should leave feeling better after class than before. This means not feeling well or depressed before class should go away by end of class. You can PM me and I can give you a good outline of how to structure the class for them.
     
  16. TrueJim

    TrueJim Master Black Belt

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    Actually, if you have a good outline for this, I'd like to put it on the taekwondo wiki.123
     

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