Martial Arts Suggestions After Being Out of MA for Over 25 Years.

MacHudde

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Hi everyone, I'm new here and I feel that my situation might be a bit unique. I stopped doing martial arts back in 1997 and I am now 48 years old. I am quite a bit overweight (hence why I want to get back in), and I am looking for something that is low-impact and uses the hands more than the feet. I have bad knees so getting down on the ground is out of the question and my flexibility is now horrible. I previously back in my late teens and early 20s took Kung Fu, which was a mix of Kempo and Hung Gar. The history of the style is a bit controversial, so for that reason, I won't mention the lineage (or lack thereof). In the 2 years I was there I made it to brown belt and then quit due to a lot of internal politics in the club. I am looking for something with more structure. I would prefer something with a ranking system in it, to help keep me motivated. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

isshinryuronin

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Your situation is not unique at all. I had bad knees and hip and was about 15 pounds overweight after being semi-retired from MA for about 25 yrs. After getting back into serious training, including some weights, my leg joints got much better. Losing weight didn't hurt either. So, if your MD says you're good to go, jump back in and you may find your physical weaknesses lessen. I'm over 70 years old and can hold my own against youngsters like you.

If groundwork is not for you, that leaves striking arts. If by low impact you mean no stress on joints or muscles, a more flowing art like tai chi or ba gua may be suitable (I don't know about ranking), or perhaps some kung fu styles. These arts are mainly hand oriented.

As far as karate styles, very traditional Okinawan styles (goju ryu, isshinryu, uechi ryu, etc.) are also more hand oriented, say 70-80%. What kicks they have are generally targeted to lower body, groin and knees. These traditional styles will usually be well structured and have little politics. Competitive sparring is not a priority in old school Okinawan dojo. Of course, all depends on the school. But there will be physical contact, it is a martial art, after all.

Again, it depends on the particular school and instructor. Get back into it. It's not too late by any means. Good luck.
 
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drop bear

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Fungus

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Hi everyone, I'm new here and I feel that my situation might be a bit unique. I stopped doing martial arts back in 1997 and I am now 48 years old. I am quite a bit overweight (hence why I want to get back in), and I am looking for something that is low-impact and uses the hands more than the feet. I have bad knees so getting down on the ground is out of the question and my flexibility is now horrible. I previously back in my late teens and early 20s took Kung Fu, which was a mix of Kempo and Hung Gar. The history of the style is a bit controversial, so for that reason, I won't mention the lineage (or lack thereof). In the 2 years I was there I made it to brown belt and then quit due to a lot of internal politics in the club. I am looking for something with more structure. I would prefer something with a ranking system in it, to help keep me motivated. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
As someone having some back issues, I think what is "low impact" is relative to your issues. Even back issues is relative, there are different kinds, and advice that works for some, may not work for me. I have simply found out that flexing certain directions is better than extension, but some directions are fine, others are not. Same for knees I think.

So for me "low impact" has nothing to do with the contact level of sparring. I participate in contact sparring, and getting kickes and punches and getting some bruises is not a problem at all. For me, doing some low stances in KATA is much worse!

So you might need to just jump onto something and see what works for you.

I have back pain from the most commong kick, chudan mawashi geri, but can train some jump kicks without problems.

I have myself given priority to fighting, and cutting down on kata, as that is better for my back. Although it might sound "tought" to do hard contact sparring - it's not that simple I think.

I am actually also a bit overweight and 50+

For me RUNNING is the worst thing I can do, it gets my back.
 

Holmejr

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Whats available to you?

If available, the Filipino Martial Arts are right up your alley. Most styles are predominantly upper body, at least in the beginning. Typically, slow beginning movements concentrating on good form, balance and footwork. Typically small classes with good personal attention given to each student. Very family ish.

Many FMA schools are backyard/garage gatherings. You kinda have to look for them
 
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MacHudde

MacHudde

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Thanks all for your input. My area is not big so this is what is available.

Yang Style Tai Chi
Hung Gar Kung Fu
BJJ
Muay Thai
MMA
Kickboxing
Taekwon-Do
Boxing
Hapkido
Arnis
Judo
Itosu-Ryu Karate
 

Holmejr

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Seriously check out the Arnis class. Arnis is a great art that starts with light stick, to teach footwork, angles of attack and evasive angling and range. Very light contact. As the student progresses the weopon become shorter until its open hand. Although you will learn many techniques, The Filipino arts are concept oriented. The Filipino arts are typically not standardized or regulated by organization. You kinda have to watch the classes (beginning to senior) and pick the teachers brain for lineage. Feel free to pm me with questions.
 

Buka

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Thanks all for your input. My area is not big so this is what is available.

Yang Style Tai Chi
Hung Gar Kung Fu
BJJ
Muay Thai
MMA
Kickboxing
Taekwon-Do
Boxing
Hapkido
Arnis
Judo
Itosu-Ryu Karate
Boxing.
 

Dirty Dog

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As others have said, there's nothing remotely unique about your situation.
Go visit the schools in your area. Try a class, or at least watch. See which one feels like the best fit for you. Sign up. Train.
 
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MacHudde

MacHudde

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Thank you all for your input and there are a few that I am going to check out in my area. I'm going to check out the Yang Style Tai Chi/Hung Gar (they are both taught by the same instructor), the Arnis, and the Itosu-Ryu Karate.
 

HighKick

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Thanks all for your input. My area is not big so this is what is available.

Yang Style Tai Chi
Hung Gar Kung Fu
BJJ
Muay Thai
MMA
Kickboxing
Taekwon-Do
Boxing
Hapkido
Arnis
Judo
Itosu-Ryu Karate
Kung Fu (since you already have experience)
Kickboxing - you will have to moderate in the beginning.
Taekwon-Do - you wrote that in the ITF derivative. - you will have to moderate in the beginning
Boxing - A great choice or as a compliment to one of the other styles.
Arnis - great fun but a little different.
Ryu Karate - or any of the other Karate derivatives. - you will have to moderate in the beginning

Hapkido usually involves some rolling and always involves joint locks. Not sure if that is what you are looking for.

My suggestion (always) is to take you time and audit them all. See which one resonates with you and give it a go. Don't be in a rush.
 

JowGaWolf

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I would go for Zhang Ga. Simply because it should be easier to identify if there's a lot of politics at that school. One you had a bad taste of it you will be able to puck up on it much easier.

Arnis if you like weapons.
 
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MacHudde

MacHudde

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Thank you all. I visited the Hung Gar Kung Fu school and spoke with one of their Sifus and explained my situation, showed them the stuff I already knew to the best of my ability and if I wanted to in the beginning I could just focus on the forms until I got in better shape.
 

JowGaWolf

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Thank you all. I visited the Hung Gar Kung Fu school and spoke with one of their Sifus and explained my situation, showed them the stuff I already knew to the best of my ability and if I wanted to in the beginning I could just focus on the forms until I got in better shape.
Right off the back it sounds like he is more than happy to meet you where your are in terms of fitness. But I'm sure you'll be doing the fitness portions as well.
 

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