How old is "Old" in the MAs?

geezer

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Yeah, I know. this topic is OLD. But I wanted to look at it from a different perspective.

Let me open by sharing a recent encounter I had while jogging up a trail in a nearby "Mountain Park". I've been trying to get back into decent shape since I'll be 54 in a few weeks. So I'm chugging up a steep, rocky desert trail, pretty pleased with the pace I'm keeping, when this old guy (I mean significantly older than I am!) flies past me, running full bore up this rough trail. A bit later, as I approached the summit, he flew past me again, going downhill. A wrinkled up old bald guy with a fringe of white hair, but lean, tan and totally ripped.

It was really too much to take. So I stopped and shouted after him, "Lookin' great! How old are you, anyway?". He shouted back, "67... have a good run yourself..." I had just enough time to reply, "Yeah, give me a dozen years to get where you're at." Then he was gone around a twist in the trail.

So, I'm back to regular training and also lifting weights for the first time in my life. I seriously want to be doing martial arts for a couple more decades, minimum. My 84 year old dad says I'm nuts. But he no slouch himself. So what is old these days? How long do you want to be practicing Martial Arts?
 

harlan

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My grandparents used to say, 'you're as old as your back'. I'd expand on that to say, 'as old as one's joints'. Arthritis was never on my radar, so it's come as an unpleasant surprise to discover it in my knees and spine at 48. I once read that 'karate is for old men', and thought it meant that it was a martial art that one can grow with. I'm hoping that is true.
 

girlbug2

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Just when you start thinking you're "too old for martial arts", remember that Mr. Gracie was rolling well into his 90s, may he RIP.
 

Big Don

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GM Richard "Huk" Planas is 62. By some standards that is pretty old...
Sifu Planas moves really well, better than most, and hits REAL hard...
But, is it about moving or knowledge? Is some 25 year old upstart "better" than someone who has studied his system for decades?
Age, infirmities aside, is little more, IMO, than a mindset.
Remember, Groucho Marx said
"You're only as old as the woman you feel."
 

Bruno@MT

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Tanemura sensei is 61 years old.
Hatsumi sensei is 77 years old.

They may be old in years, but when it comes to fighting, I think that attacking either of them would be a fatal mistake. If you watch either of them move, you'll see that their timing is perfect and their movements are fluid. They may not make wild jumping moves anymore (although I was told that Tanemura sensei still performs zenpo tenkai) but their movements are efficient and they know what they are doing.

EDIT:
For a good example of what I mean with 'efficient', watch this clip at 4:35, where Hatsumi sensei dodges a knife thrust at his face.
 

seasoned

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Aside from the abuse martial artist put themselves through, early on in their training, it really is, just a mind thing. Senior adults need a purpose in life, as the years pile on. Never, ever, let age be a barrier in your life, if you started training in your younger years, then continue. If you are old and out of shape, get off your butt, and do something, now. What will keep us going way into our later years, is the fact that we are not competing against the younger crowd, but against ourself. Don't worry about what you could do years ago, or what the younger students can accomplish, focus on yourself. Never let your body find out what your mind knows, and if there ever was a secret, I will list mine, below.
(1) Don't retire.
(2) Get up early, stretch and do a few kata.
(3) If you have a day job, go, do it, and give it your best.
(4) Teach others, pass down what you know, and have learned, over the years.
(5) Never live through your students, but continue to be a example.
(6) Eat right, don't smoke, and drink moderately.
(7) Don't focus on what you can't do, and always be an inspiration to everyone you meet.
Last but not least, never act your age, no matter what people may say about you being to old, to be doing that.
So Geezer, your last question was, " How long do you want to be practicing Martial Arts"?
My answer, until the day I die.
icon12.gif
 

stickarts

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I have taught an 82 year old martial arts. Some are "old" at a young age, and some are always young at heart! :) Attitude, genetics, and how well you take care of yourself are all contributing factors to your quality of life and ability in the later years.
 

tshadowchaser

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I am well into my 60's and have no thought of not studying. In fact I travel 3 hours each way to study with my current instructor.
I lead the excersises in my own school and most of those in their 20's or younger can not keep up.
Your old when you start thinking you are and that you think can no longer do things you want to
 

blackxpress

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Ohtsuka Sensei was 90 when he died. If I'm not mistaken he was still teaching right up until he died. I've seen videos of him running kata when he was in his 80s and his kata was still incredibly sharp.
 

Chris Parker

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Tanemura sensei is 61 years old.
Hatsumi sensei is 77 years old.

They may be old in years, but when it comes to fighting, I think that attacking either of them would be a fatal mistake. If you watch either of them move, you'll see that their timing is perfect and their movements are fluid. They may not make wild jumping moves anymore (although I was told that Tanemura sensei still performs zenpo tenkai) but their movements are efficient and they know what they are doing.

EDIT:
For a good example of what I mean with 'efficient', watch this clip at 4:35, where Hatsumi sensei dodges a knife thrust at his face.

Hi Bruno,

Umm, what clip, my friend?
 

MA-Caver

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Yeah, I know. this topic is OLD. But I wanted to look at it from a different perspective.

Let me open by sharing a recent encounter I had while jogging up a trail in a nearby "Mountain Park". I've been trying to get back into decent shape since I'll be 54 in a few weeks. So I'm chugging up a steep, rocky desert trail, pretty pleased with the pace I'm keeping, when this old guy (I mean significantly older than I am!) flies past me, running full bore up this rough trail. A bit later, as I approached the summit, he flew past me again, going downhill. A wrinkled up old bald guy with a fringe of white hair, but lean, tan and totally ripped.

It was really too much to take. So I stopped and shouted after him, "Lookin' great! How old are you, anyway?". He shouted back, "67... have a good run yourself..." I had just enough time to reply, "Yeah, give me a dozen years to get where you're at." Then he was gone around a twist in the trail.

So, I'm back to regular training and also lifting weights for the first time in my life. I seriously want to be doing martial arts for a couple more decades, minimum. My 84 year old dad says I'm nuts. But he no slouch himself. So what is old these days? How long do you want to be practicing Martial Arts?

I think I have a similar encounter myself.
At the time I was an active member of a Cave Search And Rescue team. We prided ourselves on being in shape and so forth. Hiking up the mountains to reach cave entrances with "tons" of gear on our backs" in short order was the norm.
One weekend a trio of us decided to go camp out at the base of a 11K foot mountain. This had a nice trail leading all the way up to the summit. Next morning we had a hearty breakfast and started out with minimal gear and water/food, etc. Our plan was to hike the summit and back then head on home.
Hours later, we were about 1000 vertical feet from the summit but still roughly 4 miles as the trail winds. We had ran out of time to do the full circuit and stopped where we were to snack and hydrate before hiking back down. While doing so we spied an elderly gent hiking down the trail towards us. Tall, lean and with one arm which held a tall hiking stick.
My friends/team-members did the inquiry's of did he reach the summit and naturally how old he was. He did and was 84 then went on his merry way down the trail.
One of our guys just sat down with bemused disgust repeating over and over... "oh yeah, we suck!" I on the other hand was watching the down hill side of the trail leading from the summit, and told him... "No... wait a second." Coming up over the rise was a gent about our age (30's) and his little daughter of 6. As they passed us I asked if they had summited? He gave us an odd look and said "ya, both of us" and kept going. When the two of them got out of ear shot... I turned to my friend and said... "NOW we suck!" :lol:

The point I wanted to make with this was that you're never too OLD or too YOUNG to be in shape for the body you're in right now.

Age doesn't matter.
 

Bill Mattocks

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My sensei is ten years older than me and looks ten years younger. One of my fellow students in my dojo is 72 years old, and he's a nidan BB. I'll be 48 in a couple days, and I just started MA training last September. I'm not planning to stop, ever. If I can walk, I'll be a karateka.
 

seasoned

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Just think how much younger you will look in 10 years.
icon7.gif
 

Kacey

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Yeah, I know. this topic is OLD. But I wanted to look at it from a different perspective.

Let me open by sharing a recent encounter I had while jogging up a trail in a nearby "Mountain Park". I've been trying to get back into decent shape since I'll be 54 in a few weeks. So I'm chugging up a steep, rocky desert trail, pretty pleased with the pace I'm keeping, when this old guy (I mean significantly older than I am!) flies past me, running full bore up this rough trail. A bit later, as I approached the summit, he flew past me again, going downhill. A wrinkled up old bald guy with a fringe of white hair, but lean, tan and totally ripped.

It was really too much to take. So I stopped and shouted after him, "Lookin' great! How old are you, anyway?". He shouted back, "67... have a good run yourself..." I had just enough time to reply, "Yeah, give me a dozen years to get where you're at." Then he was gone around a twist in the trail.

So, I'm back to regular training and also lifting weights for the first time in my life. I seriously want to be doing martial arts for a couple more decades, minimum. My 84 year old dad says I'm nuts. But he no slouch himself. So what is old these days? How long do you want to be practicing Martial Arts?

Aside from the abuse martial artist put themselves through, early on in their training, it really is, just a mind thing. Senior adults need a purpose in life, as the years pile on. Never, ever, let age be a barrier in your life, if you started training in your younger years, then continue. If you are old and out of shape, get off your butt, and do something, now. What will keep us going way into our later years, is the fact that we are not competing against the younger crowd, but against ourself. Don't worry about what you could do years ago, or what the younger students can accomplish, focus on yourself. Never let your body find out what your mind knows, and if there ever was a secret, I will list mine, below.
(1) Don't retire.
(2) Get up early, stretch and do a few kata.
(3) If you have a day job, go, do it, and give it your best.
(4) Teach others, pass down what you know, and have learned, over the years.
(5) Never live through your students, but continue to be a example.
(6) Eat right, don't smoke, and drink moderately.
(7) Don't focus on what you can't do, and always be an inspiration to everyone you meet.
Last but not least, never act your age, no matter what people may say about you being to old, to be doing that.
So Geezer, your last question was, " How long do you want to be practicing Martial Arts"?
My answer, until the day I die.
icon12.gif

Me too! One of my friends is 70 (his birthday was last month), he has 7 fused vertebrae and 2 metal rods up his spine (car accident - not TKD), and is an active IV Dan - he works out and teaches every week. He started when he was 50. His kicks may not be as high as they used to be - but his technique is damned good, his movements are very economical, and his understanding of what he's doing, and how to teach it, is immense. When people ask him about it, his answer is "why stop now when there's still so much to learn?".
 

Big Don

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I want to change my answer.
How old is "Old"? My new answer:30
I'm 36 :(
 

tallgeese

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I want to be practicing till I drop.

That being said, there are changes I'm sure I'll end up making along the way due to physical limitations. I do alot more grappling these days than I used to, largely because I don't like getting hit in the head as much as I used to.
 
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