MA's for the long term

chazlink

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Hello all

I just had a quick question for any of you more experienced Martial Artists out there. This week I have the opportunity to start training in Kali (which I am EXTREMELY pumped about) and possibly cross train at the same facility in either EPAK or Muay Thai. All three instructors (especially the Muay Thai and the Kali) are well known in the state at being some of the absolute best in their respective arts, so I am hoping things go well.

My quandry is this...I want to start an MA that I can practice for a lifetime. I currently do Tai Chi and I LOVE it, and I realize that it can be done by a person of any age. I strictly assume that Kali can be practiced until an older age - strictly based on the fact that the art was taught to many villagers of varying ages that could fight when needed in the Phillippines. And with Muay Thai, I am basically a total noob, but I have seen the class, and those guys are no joke...that is one brutal art.

I am in my late 20's now and I have no doubt that I can participate in both Kali/Muay Thai no problem. I am in good shape and love to push myself. But are these arts be good long term MAs? I mean, I certainly would have to be in amazing shape to be doing those brutal Muay Thai workouts at say, age 55-65, as opposed to doing Kung Fu, Tai Chi, etc. or another softer form.

Can anyone weigh in on this? I just want to get some opinions on some folks that have a bit more real life knowledge other than myself. Thank any and all for comments or information.

-chaz
 

Andrew Green

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You can practice any art, at any age. The level of intensity changes though, you won't be sparring full out at 70 in Muay Thai, but there will still be lots you can do.

You are also not confined to one art for life, after 20 years you might want to start something different anyways. So I'd say do what you want to do now, and then in 40 years, do what you want to do then.

Martial arts in North American today looks little like what it did 40 years ago, imagine having tried to plan your martial arts future that far in advance back then.
 

tellner

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I've met and trained with people in their 50s and 60s who still did Muay Thai. They didn't get into the ring for money. They had to adjust their workouts to coincide with reality. But they still worked hard and had great skills and a great time doing it.
 

Drac

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I agree with all the above posts..I have personally met and trained with those who were well into their 70's ..They can still get out there and show those youngsters a thing or two, but not all day...
 

tellner

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Like the Blues song says "I ain't as good as I once was. But I'm as good once as I ever was."
 
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chazlink

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Outstanding guys. Thanks so much for the input. I would hope that doing Muay Thai for that long would help enable me to keep practicing such a grueling martial art as well. A workout that good can only be beneficial at any age I guess...of course, as tellner perfectly put it, the workouts coincided with reality :)

I appreciate all of your time and insight as well. More than you probably know.
 

MJS

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Hello all

I just had a quick question for any of you more experienced Martial Artists out there. This week I have the opportunity to start training in Kali (which I am EXTREMELY pumped about) and possibly cross train at the same facility in either EPAK or Muay Thai. All three instructors (especially the Muay Thai and the Kali) are well known in the state at being some of the absolute best in their respective arts, so I am hoping things go well.

My quandry is this...I want to start an MA that I can practice for a lifetime. I currently do Tai Chi and I LOVE it, and I realize that it can be done by a person of any age. I strictly assume that Kali can be practiced until an older age - strictly based on the fact that the art was taught to many villagers of varying ages that could fight when needed in the Phillippines. And with Muay Thai, I am basically a total noob, but I have seen the class, and those guys are no joke...that is one brutal art.

I am in my late 20's now and I have no doubt that I can participate in both Kali/Muay Thai no problem. I am in good shape and love to push myself. But are these arts be good long term MAs? I mean, I certainly would have to be in amazing shape to be doing those brutal Muay Thai workouts at say, age 55-65, as opposed to doing Kung Fu, Tai Chi, etc. or another softer form.

Can anyone weigh in on this? I just want to get some opinions on some folks that have a bit more real life knowledge other than myself. Thank any and all for comments or information.

-chaz

I'd check out all of them and see what you like best. :) If you're definately going to do the Kali and are choosing either EPAK or MT, personally, I'd go with with the EPAK. I do Kenpo and Arnis as well as some BJJ added in. Makes for a nice combo! :) The Kenpo will provide you with a number of techniques for various attacks, such as punches, kicks, grabs, tackles, gun, knife and club. The Kali will further round out your weapon work, as well as provide you with some devastating empty hand material.

Good luck in your search! :)

Mike
 

kidswarrior

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I'd check out all of them and see what you like best. :) If you're definately going to do the Kali and are choosing either EPAK or MT, personally, I'd go with with the EPAK. I do Kenpo and Arnis as well as some BJJ added in. Makes for a nice combo! :) The Kenpo will provide you with a number of techniques for various attacks, such as punches, kicks, grabs, tackles, gun, knife and club. The Kali will further round out your weapon work, as well as provide you with some devastating empty hand material.

Good luck in your search! :)

Mike

While I don't disagree with any of the above posts, still as a fellow kenpoist with Mike, I'm also slanted toward EPAK as a 'lifetime' art. I do a different strain of kenpo, but it's an art I feel I can do for life (what's left of it--I'm 55 :)).

Not true of all arts I've done. Yes, there are exceptions, but what we don't see when we walk in and see that 68 year old still practicing, is how many other 68 year olds who are not there because their bodies couldn't take it. Joints go, arthritis can set in, all kinds of ugly things can happen. When we're young, we think: That won't happen to me. But the trade off with being active in a martial art is our bodies will take some wear and tear, and we all age. The key is picking the arts that are right for you, so you can best manage that wear and tear and enjoy yourself for life. :)

Anyway, best wishes in your pursuit.
 

Old Fat Kenpoka

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The third time I visited my Orthopedist to complain about my knees he told me. "Alan, you should take up swimming. Nobody hurts their knees swimming." I responded "Yeah? Nobody drowns in Karate class."

The unfortunate reality is that as people age they bruise, tear, and break bones more easily; they lose flexibility; they lose aerobic capacity and strength; and they don't heal as quickly. That means you need to take care of yourself more when training: warmup properly, stretch more, take more breaks, manage the training intensity, and allow time to recover between workouts and injuries.

The responsibilities of adulthood turn many of us who trained full-time in our youths into weekend warriors in middle age. This only exacerbates the above limitations.

At some point in our lives we have to face the inevitable: that we can no longer fight competitively with 20 year olds who train all day every day. If you train smart as I mentioned above, you can delay this. You either have to hang in and do the best you can with the 20 year olds, or accept your age limitations and change your focus to something that is less competitive and more Kata focused. It is an individual choice and depends on what you can and want to do in the future when you have to make that decision.

Now, comparing the arts you are considering, Muay Thai is definitely the most competitive and youth oriented, Kali is in the middle, Kenpo can be very old-age friendly as there are quite a few Katas and the style is very adaptable for individuals with limited flexibility. But that doesn't mean that you should start Kenpo now--any more than it means you should take up lawn bowling now. You could do Muay Thai now and for several years and then switch to Kenpo. Also, martial arts academies come and go. You may have different options in a few years, so you don't have decide your future today. You are yong enough to have several martial arts careers. And, you can always go back to Tai Chi...

It's nice to hear someone in their 20's thinking about the future. I bet you have a good 401K or IRA already. That is a more important decision for your future than which martial arts class to take.
 

terryl965

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I believe there is no time limit for training the intensity is still there after all these years some of the kicks are gone by the waistline but if the heart is young and the mind is willing anything is possible.
 
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chazlink

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At some point in our lives we have to face the inevitable: that we can no longer fight competitively with 20 year olds who train all day every day. If you train smart as I mentioned above, you can delay this. You either have to hang in and do the best you can with the 20 year olds, or accept your age limitations and change your focus to something that is less competitive and more Kata focused. It is an individual choice and depends on what you can and want to do in the future when you have to make that decision.

Now, comparing the arts you are considering, Muay Thai is definitely the most competitive and youth oriented, Kali is in the middle, Kenpo can be very old-age friendly as there are quite a few Katas and the style is very adaptable for individuals with limited flexibility. But that doesn't mean that you should start Kenpo now--any more than it means you should take up lawn bowling now. You could do Muay Thai now and for several years and then switch to Kenpo. Also, martial arts academies come and go. You may have different options in a few years, so you don't have decide your future today. You are yong enough to have several martial arts careers. And, you can always go back to Tai Chi...

And that, sir, is exactly what I am thinking as well. Great input, as well as great input from others above. My thoughts are that while I could practice Muay Thai for some years to come (and by the way I would not be training to enter the ring, except during class sparring - my main focus would be personal self defense and a brutal workout) I could also go ahead and train in another, more Kata based art now and be that farther toward the ever elusive "mastery" of said MA rather than train in two different arts (assuming that I enjoy the kata based art, that is...). I recently stopped practicing a VERY kata based MA, not because of the katas, but rather due to some very shady practices of the school, and I did not mind that type of training. And I certainly hope I did not offend anyone by my initial post claiming that Kung Fu was a softer art, I simply meant that it could be practiced without all of the direct impact. I know there are some arts out there that can still be practiced well into older age...I love watching some of the older Wing Chun/Judo/Chi Kung masters toss people around...I just need to look around and find the right one. This has been a great discussion and I appreciate all of your opinions. I am definitely more excited about checking out the EPAK class now. And I am always going to try to be practicing Tai Chi...the relaxation and focus it beings are beyond words...

The third time I visited my Orthopedist to complain about my knees he told me. "Alan, you should take up swimming. Nobody hurts their knees swimming." I responded "Yeah? Nobody drowns in Karate class."

I am still laughing about that one! Great comeback!

-Chaz
 

Grenadier

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This is the lecture I've given to my classes on several occasions:


From my notebook:

We strive to improve our techniques from one day to the next, in a gradual, steady manner. Improvement does not happen overnight, and instead, must be seen as building a wall, one stone at a time.

As an example, we can certainly get stronger from one day to the next, in that our punches can become stronger and faster with repeated good practice. However, there is going to come a point in time, where we aren't going to get stronger and faster. As old age catches up to us, we become weaker and slower.

Does that mean we stop improving? Absolutely not.

We can still continue to improve. Even with decreased strength and speed, we can still learn to throw punches more accurately. We can also learn to throw those punches with better timing, hitting the vital areas with greater precision, and learning how to read the opponents better.

The process of improvement, after all, need not be solely physical, and if anything, there will come a point in time, where the mental aspect must be emphasized even more.


We have an elderly fellow in our dojo, who just turned 75 years old. Even though he can't kick someone in the head, or out-quicken the youngsters, or out-muscle the bigger Karate-ka, he doesn't let that stop him.

Instead, he constantly improves his accuracy, and also learns how to anticipate people's attacks better. From there, he'll hit someone when they're off-balance, or when they're not expecting it, and land squarely on the target he's aiming at.

Despite the fact that he will almost always be slower and weaker than almost anyone else, almost everyone who has sparred him swears that he's lightining fast, and as strong as an ox. :)
 

Shotgun Buddha

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I think the real issue with what you can do when you're older is not about the style itself, but how well you take care of your health outside of MA training.
If you take control of aspects of your life now like fitness, diet and conditioning, then when you're older you'll still have a fairly open range of training available to you, although probably at a less intense level now.
Whereas if you don't really look after your health now, THATS what will limit your options later.
 
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