Changing Training as We Age

Ninebird8

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Over the weekend, I sparred a classmate of mine who is 12 years younger than me at age 38. Until recently, I have been known for my kicks and foot movement. Now, at age 50, and after knee surgery, shoulder surgery, hernia surgery, and Chron's, I am still in relatively good shape for my ager but after almost 32 years of training/practice I can feel it...LOL! I took up Yang tai chi 12 years ago to change things, including my disposition from an angry kung fu guy to a pleasant tai chi killing me softly guy....LOL! In any event, to other people of my generation, how has your practice changed in the last few years, both mentally and physically, as you age? What different kinds of practice have you instituted to keep up your skills yet not beat up the body so much anymore? I am just curious and ask advice from my fellow old codgers here. I accept the fact that you answering me in no way implies you are now an old codger....LOL! If you are young codger, will take advice as well. Gotta go get my hearing checked now, look forward to everyone's advice!
 

Phoenix44

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I'm wondering how much is due to "age" per se, and how much is due to "knee surgery, shoulder surgery, hernia surgery, and crohns!" I think those factors would adversely affect someone at any age.

I'm older than you, but I haven't had severe injuries requiring surgery, which puts me at a big advantage. I still train in the "hard" arts--in fact, I recently switched from Japanese MA to Kung Fu. I have not consciously eased up, or noticed that I've gotten any worse. (I figure, before I started training, I couldn't do anything, so in my mind, I'm still getting better!) I added Tai Chi a few years ago, not because of a perceived health or age related need, but because I tried it and loved it.

I admit that I've recently begun thinking about how much longer I want to do the hard arts, but I've come to the conclusion that I'll do it as long as I can, and tai chi will always be with me after that.

Now, I'm the oldest one on the training floor. Whenever that starts to rattle me, I remember this: When I started training in karate, I was twice as old as my fellow newbies. But years later, when it was time to tie on a black belt, I was the only one there.
 

Blindside

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I wish someone would explain to my kenpo instructor that he is now "old" and I should be able to kick his ***, 'cause it doesn't seem to be working that way.
 

stickarts

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At age 44, I don't spar as often as I used to and I spar lighter when I do. The injuries come easier and last longer than they used to! Otherwise I haven't changed much.
 

Xue Sheng

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Over the weekend, I sparred a classmate of mine who is 12 years younger than me at age 38. Until recently, I have been known for my kicks and foot movement. Now, at age 50, and after knee surgery, shoulder surgery, hernia surgery, and Chron's, I am still in relatively good shape for my ager but after almost 32 years of training/practice I can feel it...LOL! I took up Yang tai chi 12 years ago to change things, including my disposition from an angry kung fu guy to a pleasant tai chi killing me softly guy....LOL! In any event, to other people of my generation, how has your practice changed in the last few years, both mentally and physically, as you age? What different kinds of practice have you instituted to keep up your skills yet not beat up the body so much anymore? I am just curious and ask advice from my fellow old codgers here. I accept the fact that you answering me in no way implies you are now an old codger....LOL! If you are young codger, will take advice as well. Gotta go get my hearing checked now, look forward to everyone's advice!

The last time someone called me an old codger I taught them a thing or two......because I'm NO an old codger ...I'm an old foggie. :D

I had to realize I could no longer do a 6 or 7 day a week of hard training routine that included weights and cardio. Now I take a rest in between and it seems to work out fine. I still do the trainig directly associated with MA though 6 to 7 days a week.

And I have been training taiji for 15 years and I am still the same ornery cuss I was before I started... it is just now I look like a calm ornery old cuss :D

I wish someone would explain to my kenpo instructor that he is now "old" and I should be able to kick his ***, 'cause it doesn't seem to be working that way.

I wish someone would explain that to my 70 year old taiji teacher the next time he toss me around like a rag doll and knocks me to the ground :D
 

Gordon Nore

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I am just curious and ask advice from my fellow old codgers here. I accept the fact that you answering me in no way implies you are now an old codger....LOL! If you are young codger, will take advice as well. Gotta go get my hearing checked now, look forward to everyone's advice!

Couple of things have changed.

Our sparring is above the belt. I'm heavier and older, so a turning side-kick is as subtle as I get. I can still kick high if it's front kick. So I do alot more with hands when sparring.

Now, our self-defense is another matter, and I will opt to kick low rather than high. I do Hapkido, so if I take someone down to the mats, I hate having to go down there with them, fart around with pinning a shoulder, and then drag myself back up again. Might just be laziness, as opposed to age, but if can simply submit my opponent and then contrive a way to finish with a kick (or stomp) or strike, that suits me fine.
 

elder999

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I only had the one knee surgery, about 4 years ago, but you know what they say about that-it'll be time for the next one sometime in the next six years or so, I think, no matter how I try to avoid it.

That said, my daily routine hasn't changed all that much: I can still lift heavy enough on those days that sometimes people stop to watch,but "those days" are fewer, now...... and I still get my miles in on running days-though I try to limit my running to strictly maintenance now, and even do a lot of my cardio on the elliptical, to save my knees

My son, who's 26, still laughs at friends who try to keep up with my calisthenics routine or intermediate class warm up for the first time...:lol:

But I really am starting to feel it. Can't kick as high as I used to, or as fast-though that may just be my perception. Can't take as many falls as I used to, and that's a big one: I actually have to guage where I am with that from day to day, tell myself how many falls I'm going to take, and keep count!

Doesn't feel like I bounce up as quickly anymore, either....:lol:(Hell, I just don't get up as quickly, period.)

Can't sit in seiza for as long as I used to....:lol:

Can't swim underwater as far as I used to-this was the first indicator that I was getting there....:lol:

Tameshiwari? Yeah, from time to time, and I can break just as much as I ever have, but my hands are starting to not like it very much......

When I do get sore or injured, or have a little joint pain, it takes longer to recover.

Speaking of falls, forget about kote-gaeshi on the right wrist: one or two of those and that wrist is done for the day! :lfao:

The only recommendations I can make are to soften things up: I took up aikido and tai chi six years ago, in anticipation of getting older-I've also been doing yoga for a while, and increased that part of my practice. And keep with weight bearing/resistance exercises-studies have shown that it's a big help for an aging body, at just about any age.


When it comes to sparring with the younger guys, well, this is the part where your years of experience are supposed to count, so hold no quarter! :lfao:
 
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Ninebird8

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thanks to all. I can still of course outdo my students and most of my classmates from my 3 schools, but what I find now is I must operate efficiently and with experience, and really use the foot movement to get me in the appropriate position. As far as kicks, I use to be known for them, and I still have great power with the ones I use, but the fast front leg round house, the turning side kick, kung fu way, etc. are just not there anymore. I notice I use the tai chi more, the hands of my bird styles more (more eagle claw, more crane strikes and parries, falcon, etc, along with the subtle moves of tai chi). And, I find that when I do my body workouts, I do it to specific things. The knee, shoulder, and hernia do not affect me nearly as much as the periodic joing ache from the Chron's. But, the arts have taught me how to deal with it, and I still love it so much that I overcome. But all of you have said what I thought I would hear back, and I always remember my eagle claw master is about to be 74, and my Shaolin master's master is 103 and still can move really well, so who am I to complain at 50.....LOL! And, my master here is almost 53, and can still jing to be mean. Soooo...thanks to all of you, as my brother Xue would say, old fogies instead of codgers, though Xue, does fogies outrank codger or other way around??????
 

Phoenix44

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I must operate efficiently and with experience, and really use the foot movement to get me in the appropriate position.

And of course, that's the advantage of age.
 

karate-dragon

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My mind says I am 20, my body says 50's. Have not slowed my training a bit. Need more Ibuprofen afterwards, is all. I am a bit slower (I think) but also wiser in my moves. Can still hold my own with the kids (20's). Recently dislocated a finger and shoved the bone thru the skin and was actually somewhat proud of that in a sick sort of way.
 

elder999

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My mind says I am 20, my body says 50's. Have not slowed my training a bit. Need more Ibuprofen afterwards, is all. I am a bit slower (I think) but also wiser in my moves. Can still hold my own with the kids (20's). Recently dislocated a finger and shoved the bone thru the skin and was actually somewhat proud of that in a sick sort of way.


I had a teacher, Anthony Davis-when I met him, he was 86 years old. On his 90th birthday, I had the temerity to ask him what it felt like to get that old. He looked at me for a minute like he wanted to hit me-he often looked at people like that! :lol:- but his answer stuck with me, especially lately:

I feel just like I'm 16 years old, and there's something really, really wrong with me.
 

bluekey88

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I often have that same feeling. In my mind, I know exactly what I want to do...hell, I've done it undreds of times (when I was 16)....however, nowadays, my body just goes "you want me to do what??"

Very humbling.

Peace,
Erik
 

IcemanSK

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A number of years ago I picked up "The Complete idiots guide to Kickboxing." This book was written to folks who intended to compete. I thought it funny that the author basically said that with all the abuse one's body will take in the sport that, at some point, one should consider Aikido or Tai Chi after one's career is over. Why Aikido, I don't know. But the idea that we cannot train at the same high level (as for competition) is there.

I have a video of me at 19 breaking several boards with a jump spinning back kick. At 41, it just doesn't look that pretty anymore. I don't jump nearly as much as I used to.:)
 

KELLYG

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Well i started training at 38 so I dont have the experience of moving from 19 and being 40 to see what the difference would be.

GRAVITY SUCKS! So sometime being older.

What is really great is when you give the youngsters a run for there money. The look on there face is priceless...
 

Sylo

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when I started I was 14.

Very agile, weighed maybe 130lbs soaking wet.

I dropped out at around 15-16, and was out of martial arts until after I was married. I was 21 or 22 i think. I went back for a while.. then I weighed 170-175. I wasn't as limber as I was at 14 but I'm still young. Now, @ age 27 I'm still just beginning on my martial arts journey and I weigh about 190-200 now. I'm still skinny, and I am told by doctors I actually weigh my ideal weight now for my height (6'1"). At first it was rough, I got upset that I couldn't kick very high and I couldn't do some of the kicks I used to do easily.

With work though, I have almost gained all of my previous flexibility to a point and am content with my kicking ability. I feel like I am at an age where I can actually take more in and understand it than I was at 14. My training has changed alot, and has become even more intense than it was then, because I understand that it should be. When your 14, its more fun and games than it is training.

I want to teach, and get more involved into martial arts.. I hope I didn't wait too late.
 

SteffenBerg

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I'm only 33 and am probably in the best shape of my life at the moment, despite suffering through some training injuries (torn ac joint in both shoulders on a few occasions, torn meniscus in both knees, partial tear of the patella tendon etc.).

I train as hard or harder (particularly in terms of physical conditioning)... but my mindset and focus has definitely changed over the last few years. I no longer train to learn how to fight or to defend myself. I've been training relatively consistently since I was six years old, so I figure if I can't defend myself by now I might as well not bother to learn...

These days I focus more on how I can become efficient and effective in movement when applying techniques during training. Learning how to use the ground path for strength (whether I do BJJ or Aikido) and using proper bio-mechanics to make a technique work rather than strength (like so many people do, including myself).

Why?

Because I think what made some of the old "masters" (e.g. Helio Gracie, Morihei Ueshiba, Takeda Sokaku, Kyuzo Mifune etc.) so formidable was because they had acquired / discovered biomechanically efficient systems of movement. In other words, the issuance of whole-body power using proper biomechanics and being in a state of dynamic relaxation (as opposed to strength and/or sectional power).

Incidentally I think this is also the same reason why they were able to use and apply their arts in their old age. And I have the full intention of training for the rest of my life, so I might as well start looking at some of these finer aspects of training.

Just my 2 yen.

Happy Holidays!
Stef
 
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geezer

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I train as hard or harder (particularly in terms of physical conditioning)... but my mindset and focus has definitely changed over the last few years...

These days I focus more on how I can become efficient and effective in movement when applying techniques during training...?

Because I think what made some of the old "masters"... so formidable was because they had acquired / discovered biomechanically efficient systems of movement...

Incidentally I think this is also the same reason why they were able to use and apply their arts in their old age...


I'm not a codger or an old fogie. Just an old geezer, if you please! And since I've returned to martial training in my mid fifties, I totally agree with Stef's comment's above.

I also train as hard as, or maybe harder than I ever did. No, I can't do all the same stuff, but I am getting smarter...ie more efficient in my movements. And at 53, I probably have as much or more endurance as I ever had. I may not be fast or flexible, but boy is it fun to see the younger guys give up from exhaustion!

And, that's not so much because of toughness as efficiency. Like Stef, I hope to be able to do this until I'm really old. Hell, my Dad still skis black diamonds at 83. Why shouldn't I have a shot at still being good at MA at a comparable age, God willing?
 
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Ninebird8

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I appreciate everyone's comments. There are two things that have changed for me: first, I took up Yang tai chi 12 years ago 20 years in my kung fu study. Second, I find myself now learning how to practice more than train: instead of repetitions, I am looking for continuing my conversion from technique to naturalness. The only thing that really impinges me is when my Chron's kicks in and my joints hurt...interestingly, they do not hurt when I am actually practicing or teaching. The only exception lately are my kicks. And, I attribute that to knee and hernia surgery, not age!! However, I still consider myself in much better shape than most my age, and have found I have not lost much of speed and my power has gotten better as I continue after 32 years to understand the fa jing, the silk reeling, etc. that brings about efficiency of movement. Several of you mentioned this, but like many of you I find that the last comment, about movement, is critical to success once you are older. Especially with foot work. And, it is true I can still spar 2-3 hours without tiring using my actual kung fu birds, but 10-15 minutes of rooting in moving push hands still tires me....LOL!! Damn gravity! As I have gotten older, I am very grateful I am only 5' 4" and 150 lbs., less to hit, less to move, and already close to the ground!!! At my size, it is all ground fighting though I am a bird (eagle claw, white crane, nine birds, and Yang tai chi, which elementally is snake and crane, LOL!) !!!!
 

yak sao

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I started training at 18 in a hard southern Shaolin based art. I learned a lot and it got me in great shape but after some 14 years it was murder on my hip joint.
I didn't want to be one of those guys who "sort of" did a kick or a stance, so I decided to venture out into something a little more user friendly.
I did the tai chi thing for a little while but it wasn't "martial" enough for me. Then i found Wing Tsun. It is much easier on the body and still very combative. Now, 14 years later, I'm an old fart of 46, my hip injury is gone and I can still beat the stuffins out of those young upstarts. In a nice way of course.
 

geezer

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...Then i found Wing Tsun. It is much easier on the body and still very combative. Now, 14 years later, I'm an old fart of 46, my hip injury is gone and I can still beat the stuffins out of those young upstarts. In a nice way of course.

I'm finding that even with WT, I approach it differently as I get older. You know, not so many reps. of chain punches on a really hard wall bag, less full on sparring and a lot more chi-sau. I've got a few joint issues too. You learn to adapt. And, I've met some 'chunners a good deal older than any of us, and they are still lovin' it!
 

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