Beginning again late in life

jmf552

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I guess I am looking for moral support and general advice, nothing specific. Back in the day, 35 years ago, I was a San Dan instructor in Shito-Ryu Karate'. I had also studied Judo, Japanese JuJitsu and Kajukenbo. Been in a couple of real fights I had no trouble with.

Now retired, in my late 60's I am overweight and out of shape. I have an artificial knee and other orthopedic problems, but I they will not keep me down! I want to get back into martial arts. I did not want to get back into Karate. Too hard on the joints and I would be re-traveling old ground. I tried boxing, which I liked, but the sparring did not seem to be a good idea at my age. Then I tried two different Krav Maga instructors. No offense to that art, but I was not impressed. Why do a five step move when I can just nail someone and put him down, even after all these years? Also, I was looking for more of a workout.

I went around and checked out about every school in town and found one that is a long drive for me and expensive, but I just took a liking to it. They teach Muay Thai and BJJ. The head instructor has been doing both arts for 24 years and teaching for 18. FWIW, he just took a vacation to climb Mt. Killamanjaro. The other two instructors are cops, who also have a lot of years in. I like it! My only issue is I have been plagued with health issues that I chalk up to getting my old body active again. I have had to stop and start over a couple of times, but always look forward to getting back to class. The advice I have gotten to be able to keep going is: warm up before class, spar light and tap early. Anyhow, that's my ramblings. If anyone has anything to say, I'd love to hear it.
 

isshinryuronin

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Just starting back after a long layoff and being out of shape, you should not hesitate getting back into an art of your choice. Having been in a similar position just a few years ago, I offer the following:

Gradually work on your cardio by speed walking, low impact warm up type exercises and 1/2 power kata (six or so non stop. OK if you don't remember the moves correctly. The idea is just get moving in a martial art manner.) Work light weights for all muscle groups and don't neglect the legs. My experience is my bad knees and hip got better with the above - hardly any problem at all now.

Your background shows considerable experience. Rely on that instead of trying to muscle your way thru like the young bucks. You know the principles of efficient movement and power generation, and how to relax at the proper times. This last point will help you last thru the workout.

Push yourself during class (your sensei/coach should know how hard and for how long.) Don't let your face get red - that's a sign to take a short break. Don't be afraid to bow out for a couple of minutes. It's OK to breath hard, but let up if you can't catch your breath after a few seconds. Check with your doctor re: heart condition.

Good luck and keep on truckin'. At 70, I'm in better shape than at 45, and more dangerous than ever.
 

drop bear

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The biggest things that will get you hurt in BJJ is going fast out the gate rolling or cranking on submissions.

This forces the other guy to step up a gear and then is reliant on you to know which way to move so you don't get your combined body weights land in your wrist or knee or something.
 

Unkogami

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I guess I am looking for moral support and general advice, nothing specific. Back in the day, 35 years ago, I was a San Dan instructor in Shito-Ryu Karate'. I had also studied Judo, Japanese JuJitsu and Kajukenbo. Been in a couple of real fights I had no trouble with.

Now retired, in my late 60's I am overweight and out of shape. I have an artificial knee and other orthopedic problems, but I they will not keep me down! I want to get back into martial arts. I did not want to get back into Karate. Too hard on the joints and I would be re-traveling old ground. I tried boxing, which I liked, but the sparring did not seem to be a good idea at my age. Then I tried two different Krav Maga instructors. No offense to that art, but I was not impressed. Why do a five step move when I can just nail someone and put him down, even after all these years? Also, I was looking for more of a workout.

I went around and checked out about every school in town and found one that is a long drive for me and expensive, but I just took a liking to it. They teach Muay Thai and BJJ. The head instructor has been doing both arts for 24 years and teaching for 18. FWIW, he just took a vacation to climb Mt. Killamanjaro. The other two instructors are cops, who also have a lot of years in. I like it! My only issue is I have been plagued with health issues that I chalk up to getting my old body active again. I have had to stop and start over a couple of times, but always look forward to getting back to class. The advice I have gotten to be able to keep going is: warm up before class, spar light and tap early. Anyhow, that's my ramblings. If anyone has anything to say, I'd love to hear it.
Try taijiquan
 
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jmf552

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Try taijiquan
I studied Combat Tai Chi for over 15 years under excellent instructors. I finally came to feel that for me, it had some non-marital benefits, but it was iffy for self defense and iffy for exercise value. There are very few masters who can use it in a fight and if you are overweight and out of shape, it won't help much.
 

Unkogami

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I studied Combat Tai Chi for over 15 years under excellent instructors. I finally came to feel that for me, it had some non-marital benefits, but it was iffy for self defense and iffy for exercise value. There are very few masters who can use it in a fight and if you are overweight and out of shape, it won't help much.
"Iffy for self defense" depends on the individual, of course. If you're out of shape it can be a good way to transition, and the fast forms of Chen taijiquan are a pretty good workout. Most importantly, the meditative aspects may be what you need most of all.
 

Bobbycat

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Hi JMF552,
I am 71. In 2007, I got cancer then surgery and radiation. I stopped my Xing Yi Quan because I thought that internal work might stimulate metastasis. But in 2012, cancer was back, and I decided to continue training anyway. Although I am now under chemo, I feel much better due to regular solo training. I would recommend to look at Xing Yi Quan. It is a great internal art for any age and provides both good fighting skill and health benefits. I think it is difficult to find a good Xing Yi teacher, but you could start basic training on books and internet. Your background will help you.
Useful info on Xing Yi, you can find on. Log into Facebook
 
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jmf552

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Hi JMF552,
I am 71. In 2007, I got cancer then surgery and radiation. I stopped my Xing Yi Quan because I thought that internal work might stimulate metastasis. But in 2012, cancer was back, and I decided to continue training anyway. Although I am now under chemo, I feel much better due to regular solo training. I would recommend to look at Xing Yi Quan. It is a great internal art for any age and provides both good fighting skill and health benefits. I think it is difficult to find a good Xing Yi teacher, but you could start basic training on books and internet. Your background will help you.
Useful info on Xing Yi, you can find on. Log into Facebook
Bobbycat: Thanks for your reply. I have actually studied some Xing Yi Quan, as well as Bagua Zhang under my first Tai Chi instructor, who had learned some of those arts from his instructor. I have great respect for them and I will keep your advice in mind.
 
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jmf552

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"Iffy for self defense" depends on the individual, of course. If you're out of shape it can be a good way to transition, and the fast forms of Chen taijiquan are a pretty good workout. Most importantly, the meditative aspects may be what you need most of all.
Sorry, I did not make myself clear enough. I didn't mean to disparage Tai Chi as not being effective for self defense. I have felt the power from my instructor. What I meant was that it is very hard, at least for me, to learn. After 15 years, I did not feel I had acquired the fighting skill that I had in 12 years of Karate'. I think with Tai Chi, some people get it, and some don't, regardless of the instructor. I didn't get it.

And as I am sure you know, good instruction, and even good push hands partners, are hard to find.
 

drop bear

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"Iffy for self defense" depends on the individual, of course. If you're out of shape it can be a good way to transition, and the fast forms of Chen taijiquan are a pretty good workout. Most importantly, the meditative aspects may be what you need most of all.

The thing is it shouldn't depend on the individual though.

There should be some sort of consistent gain in ability across the board.
 

Alan0354

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I am going to a different direction. You have been into MA for so many years, I doubt learning something new is going to make you better. I take that you are more concern of getting back in shape, why not start back from what you learn before?

For getting back in shape, try doing some weight training, I look at MA is more cardio, weight training is to help your bones, joints.

If you really want to learn new things, think about stick fight using a walking cane. That's what I've been doing in the last 6 months. I am 68, at my age, I don't think I can improve in bare knuckle anymore. Also, for old people, it's normal to carry a walking cane everywhere. A cane if you know how to use it, will be the biggest equalizer in self defense. It is only because older Asians being attacked lately that I started looking into MA, then I pick up stick fight. That's the only reason I even join this forum, I have been going through the motion as aerobics for 30 years!!!

I only had like 3 years in Tae Kwon Do back in the 80s, due to back injury, I had to stop formal training. But I never stop working out on heavy bags for the last 30 years. I just use it as aerobics together with weight lifting. Stay active not only improve your health, it will likely reduce you joint pain.

I know you have been in MA for many years learning different styles. Learning one more is not going to make you any better. but if you stop practicing for years, you like it lost it. This is something if you don't use it, you lose it. Even for me, I never really stop, still doing bag work every week, but just because I don't really think about it, just go through the motion as aerobics, after years, things got sloppy. I had to really start concentrate back how to punch, kick to get back the form and power. So, if you stop for so many years, start working through what you know, I bet you'll find you lost a lot and have to work to get it back. I would learn something totally different and at the same time practice back what you learn before.

To my surprise, after I add the stick fight practice on top of my regular weight/kick boxing exercise, I lost 10lbs without even trying to be on diet or change my eating habit.....(which is bad!!! I love ice cream and sweet stuffs).
 
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Unkogami

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The thing is it shouldn't depend on the individual though.

There should be some sort of consistent gain in ability across the board.
Everything depends on the individual. In any endeavor, those who excel will be the minority. That doesn't mean that everyone else can't get a lot of value from the effort.
 

drop bear

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Everything depends on the individual. In any endeavor, those who excel will be the minority. That doesn't mean that everyone else can't get a lot of value from the effort.

If the training works. Then you should have the majority of people getting at least proficient.

I bet old mate walks in to that BJJ gym and most people in that room will be able to manhandle him.

Which would be an amazing coincidence that the whole room just happens to be superior individuals.
 

Unkogami

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If the training works. Then you should have the majority of people getting at least proficient.

I bet old mate walks in to that BJJ gym and most people in that room will be able to manhandle him.

Which would be an amazing coincidence that the whole room just happens to be superior individuals.
It would not mean that at all. It would merely indicate that they are currently better than he is, not that most or any of them are really good. Training and improving need not be about that anyway.

"Proficient" can mean different things to different people at different points along the way.
 

Hanzou

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I studied Combat Tai Chi for over 15 years under excellent instructors. I finally came to feel that for me, it had some non-marital benefits, but it was iffy for self defense and iffy for exercise value. There are very few masters who can use it in a fight and if you are overweight and out of shape, it won't help much.

That would be the correct assessment. You're better off in BJJ.
 
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jmf552

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It would not mean that at all. It would merely indicate that they are currently better than he is, not that most or any of them are really good. Training and improving need not be about that anyway.

"Proficient" can mean different things to different people at different points along the way.
My standard for "proficient" for a martial art is that it can be used effectively, by most students, in defense against real criminal violence. What else could it mean? As my Tai Chi instructor would say, "Studying Tai Chi without learning to fight is like going to buy shoes and returning with just the box." But he acknowledged that it was a long hard road to get there and he made no promises everyone would make it. The external arts produce a more dependable result by far.
 

Holmejr

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I guess I am looking for moral support and general advice, nothing specific. Back in the day, 35 years ago, I was a San Dan instructor in Shito-Ryu Karate'. I had also studied Judo, Japanese JuJitsu and Kajukenbo. Been in a couple of real fights I had no trouble with.

Now retired, in my late 60's I am overweight and out of shape. I have an artificial knee and other orthopedic problems, but I they will not keep me down! I want to get back into martial arts. I did not want to get back into Karate. Too hard on the joints and I would be re-traveling old ground. I tried boxing, which I liked, but the sparring did not seem to be a good idea at my age. Then I tried two different Krav Maga instructors. No offense to that art, but I was not impressed. Why do a five step move when I can just nail someone and put him down, even after all these years? Also, I was looking for more of a workout.

I went around and checked out about every school in town and found one that is a long drive for me and expensive, but I just took a liking to it. They teach Muay Thai and BJJ. The head instructor has been doing both arts for 24 years and teaching for 18. FWIW, he just took a vacation to climb Mt. Killamanjaro. The other two instructors are cops, who also have a lot of years in. I like it! My only issue is I have been plagued with health issues that I chalk up to getting my old body active again. I have had to stop and start over a couple of times, but always look forward to getting back to class. The advice I have gotten to be able to keep going is: warm up before class, spar light and tap early. Anyhow, that's my ramblings. If anyone has anything to say, I'd love to hear it.
Well, there are so many great ways to go here. If you are well capitalized, Id definitely get back in shape with a combo of walking/brisk walking, light stretching and light weight training. Finding a good coach is the pricey part. As far a MA is concerned, studying FMA is a great way to gain fluidity, good body mechanics and the weight of the stick(s) aide in speed building. At 66, Im probably less concerned with self defense and more concerned with quality of life. I firmly believe that the flexibility, balance, fluidity and strength I gain from my MA (FMA) adds to my general well being. I can still play hard with my grandkids, giving them fun memories of our time together. Time is short, get back into your passions and make the most out of it. Youd be surprised of the positive ripple effect on those around you!
 

Unkogami

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My standard for "proficient" for a martial art is that it can be used effectively, by most students, in defense against real criminal violence. ...
Used by whom? Against whom? Is a "proficient" boxer only one who wins every bout? Every individual is different. Some are stronger, some are weaker, some are faster, some are slower, some are older, some are younger, some have a more aggressive nature, some do not no matter what they study or for how long. "Proficiency" based on outcome is unrealistic.
 
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jmf552

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Used by whom? Against whom? Is a "proficient" boxer only one who wins every bout? Every individual is different. Some are stronger, some are weaker, some are faster, some are slower, some are older, some are younger, some have a more aggressive nature, some do not no matter what they study or for how long. "Proficiency" based on outcome is unrealistic.
By most students. Any art that cannot adapt to the weaker defeating the stronger is a waste of time. The body has disabling and lethal target that a child has the strength to exploit. Proficiency based on outcome is the only standard that makes sense. Otherwise, all the training is wasted. Read books by people like Rory Miller, Tim Larkin and Varg Freeborn. One of Larkin's students was a small college girl who only took a three hour seminar with Larkin. She later killed a serial rapist who attacked her and was much larger than her. She broke his neck with her bare hands. Nancy Wake, "The White Mouse" spy against the Nazis was taught the Fairbarin-Sykes H2H system and she later killed a German officer with one chop to the neck.

If you are satisfied with "proficiency" meaning anything less, that is your call. For me, it puts into question all your other statements about effectiveness of a martial art.
 

Hanzou

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Used by whom? Against whom? Is a "proficient" boxer only one who wins every bout? Every individual is different. Some are stronger, some are weaker, some are faster, some are slower, some are older, some are younger, some have a more aggressive nature, some do not no matter what they study or for how long. "Proficiency" based on outcome is unrealistic.

Thing is, if you're boxing and sparring with your peers, then you're punching skinny people, fat people, short people, tall people, and learning how to adjust your game accordingly. So someone studying boxing is consistently applying their knowledge towards a practical outcome. Hence why so many people who take up boxing actually learn how to fight and apply it in a self defense scenario.

Tai Chi on the other hand is mostly theory, and you're spending an inordinate amount of time practicing the theory instead of APPLYING the theory. Which is why if someone is looking for self defense, pointing them in the direction of Tai Chi is rather dubious and counter productive. It doesn't help that the majority of Tai Chi schools wouldn't even advertise themselves as a place to learn self defense.
 

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