Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Jun 21, 2003
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If you want to get away from LEO situations... how about an elderly parent with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia who becomes combative? I know someone who had to restrain his father for several hours... I don't know all the details, so I don't know if it was continuous or intermittent -- but it went on for hours.

Or how about running far enough to be safe? Or having the misfortune to be stuck in a crowd?

While ideally a real fight is over in a few seconds -- reality has a way of tending not to be ideal and not to follow the script.

Yup, this is where my head was going. :)


Feb 3, 2005
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Huber Heights, OH
Not everyone loses physical capability as they age, at least not at the same rate as everyone else, so it is difficult to predict that a person of a certain age will or will not be able to kick high, or have great speed or great power. But in general, yes, it diminishes with age. Exactly how much? I don't think anyone can answer that question.
As I mentioned, genetics, prior health, and how many long-term injuries you've sustained in your life all factor in.

Also, it takes longer to heal from injuries as we age. Again, in general.
Say it twice. Say it three times. Keep saying it. Hormone levels play such an important part of healing and those rapidly decline after the late 30's to mid 40's.

However, of the attributes you mentions, I think strength lasts the longest. In some cases, we get stronger as we age. Believe it or not. Power lifters are generally considered to be at their peak around age 40. For playing many sports, the demands on the joints and flexibility mean that age takes a toll, but when we're talking about pure power, age is not a negative but a positive up to a certain point.
My experience is that flexibility tends to last the longest but is also one of the easiest things to injure in youth. Joints have so little blood flow feeding them that, even the parts of the joint that can heal, take just this side of forever to do so. Just ask my right shoulder. :p

Believe it or not, there are some advantages to getting older too. One is that pain means less. I'm not fond of pain, I still say ouch and try to avoid it whenever possible (especially dental pain, that's the worst). But I can dig in and keep going and when I was younger, I either could not or would not do that to the extent I can now.

I think experience in life in general also works to our advantage as we age. We learn what works and what doesn't. We don't string things along, we go for the end-game using the most direct route possible. I don't care if my sparring is pretty; I want to end the fight and be done.
It's not that you feel pain less, you just kinda get used to it. Geriatric studies (actually related to sleep studies) have shown that as we age we just keep accumulating parts that hurt and it kinda becomes a low-level background noise.

We also have more ability to avoid confrontation, more experience in recognizing bullcrap and understanding what is and what is not a threat. That only comes with age, something our friend Zengael can't seem to comprehend.
Neuro-science research has pretty well proven that, in men anyway, the parts of the brain responsible for evaluating and mitigating personal risk do not fully "mature" until well past the 20's. Yes, science has shown that men are naturally inclined to risk-taking behavior when they're young. I suspect that it impresses the chicks. ;)

Peace favor your sword,


MT Mentor
Dec 17, 2008
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A question for older martial artists. Exactly how much flexibility/strength/speed do you lose with age?

Anyway, Is this normal loss of speed/flexibility/power at that age? How well can one combat the challenges of age? Will constant martial arts training, working out, and stretching throughout my life time help combat this? ( I am quite aware that it is indeed impossible to completely counter )
For me, strength and speed are not an issue. My reflexes are good and strength wise I'm happy to mix it with anyone. Flexibility is another thing. You either have it or you don't. Even in my younger years as a gymnast, I struggled with flexibility. Now I'm much like a lighter version of Bill M. :) My normal kick will take out your knee and my high kick will ring your bells. Okinawan karate doesn't normally train high kicks anyway.

One of my previous teachers is of Filipino origin. He's in his seventies and still lightning fast and strong. The old adage rings true here ... use it, or lose it. Once you lose strength and fitness, it is much harder to get it back when you are older. :asian:


Green Belt
Mar 19, 2012
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hmmm thank you for all the replies!

To clear some things up, I barely kick to the head in my current state. I mostly use it just to show off. Honestly, the highest kick I really want to maintain through my life is the ability to do side kicks at least up to an opponent's ribcage. Other than that, as long as I can kick to the knees, the groin, and still perform knee strikes, I'm good. Even though I practice TKD, I've always worked with my hands and infighting way more than longer range kicks.

And I'm not really one for competition. Never have been. But seeing as I'll being joining the boxing club when I go off to college this year, they may stick me in a few fights. i'm not sure. I welcome the challenge though. Hope I don't batter up my body for the worst like you say

Black Belt Jedi

Blue Belt
Jul 2, 2011
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Toronto, Ont. Canada
I find it very important because if you are in a real life situation, you need proper stamina uncase the fight takes long or you can develop into being the best runner and run away from a fight.

The benefits of fitness in my personal life helps with my self-esteem and confidence.

Taiji Rebel

Black Belt
May 18, 2023
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Fitness is the foundation of martial arts. Being strong in mind and body has multiple benefits. Flexibility is also something to continually work upon. Again this applies equally to the mind and body. Over the years, I have seen plenty of overweight and out of shape martial arts instructors - they are a really bad example to their students and the martial arts as a whole
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