Alive and Kicking #0 – Welcome

by on September 22, 2011

in Alive and Kicking


Alive and Kicking – Martial Arts Over 40


The Welcome Issue


Welcome to Alive and Kicking, the newsletter for martial artists
over 40.

The regular edition is sent out on Mondays (New Zealand
time). Please make sure you add to
your contact list. This will help make sure that your newsletter
doesn’t end up in your spam folder!


In this introductory edition of Alive and Kicking, I’ll tell you
a little more about me, and what you can expect from this

Firstly, a bit of background about myself. Just in case you’re
wondering “who on Earth is this guy?”

My name is Brett Kraiger, I’m 42 years old and have been doing
martial arts since I was 20. I’m currently a 4th Dan black belt
and instructor in ITF Taekwon-Do.

I started instructing soon after I got my 1st Dan in 1994. After
instructing for over 15 years straight I decided that I needed
to take some time out. I had some pretty serious personal stuff
that I had to sort out, and I thought that taking a break from
Taekwon-Do would help.

It didn’t help… I missed Taekwon-Do too much, and and started
up a new school in 2011.

I have also started doing Aikido, and recently gained my green
belt in that art. Totally different to Taekwon-Do, and it’s a
real challenge to take on a totally different art.

I’ve noticed more and more recently that I’m starting to feel
my age! I badly injured my shoulder several years ago and it’s
never come right. I have constant pain and quite restricted
range of motion in that joint.

And now an old injury to my knee is coming back to haunt me. The
knee has been slowly wearing out since I destroyed my Anterior
Cruciate Ligament 15 or so years ago. It’s been hardly noticeable
until recently, but now it’s caught up with me.

So I did start to question my wisdom in deciding to carry on with
Taekwon-Do, especially since I had managed to successfully
extract myself from my school and take a year off!

The thing is, in that year off from Taekwon-Do, I realized how
much I missed it. Much more than I ever thought I would. So
quitting is not really an option.

The only solution to maintain my sanity and fitness is to keep
going somehow. Although I love my Aikido, I’m first and foremost
a Taekwon-Do man, and just love passing my knowledge on to my

And that’s what’s really got me thinking about how things have
changed since I was a young 20-year old and just starting out.

Back then my body was in good working order and I was just able
to get on with training. I used to leap about the place and
loved flying kicks in particular.

Things are somewhat different now. My body and my doctor are
telling me not to jump about so much. My doctor said I would have
to do “modified” Taekwon-Do.

So I now have to get my head around how to keep on training even
if I can’t do all that I want to do.

So, I’m just starting on this new journey of life in the martial
arts after the age of 40. I don’t proclaim to have all the

I definitely do NOT have all the answers.

And that is why I’ve started this site and the Alive and Kicking
newsletter. I want to explore what it means to be a middle-aged
martial artist.


The idea behind this newsletter is to bring you news, views,
ideas and inspiration to keep you going in the martial arts.

As the body begins to age, keeping up training in the martial
arts can become difficult. Body parts begin to wear out, you no
longer move at lightning speed, and it gets tougher and tougher
to stay in shape.

But keeping active is really important, and the martial arts are
a great way to stay in shape. As you accumulate injuries or other
aches and pains you might be tempted to give up on doing a
martial art.

But this is just about the worst thing you could do.

Hard training is keeping your body in shape, allowing your
muscles to become strong and perhaps make up for some of the
weaknesses starting to show in your joints. Stop training, your
muscles weaken, and you’ll find it even harder to move.

Through this newsletter and I hope
to inspire and motivate you, entertain and maybe even challenge

It should be fun!

Please, if you like the newsletter, get the word out. Forward it
to your fellow over-40 (or nearing-40) martial arts friends. Or
send them to so they can
subscribe for themselves.

And if there’s something you don’t like this newsletter, make
sure you let me know how I can improve it. It’s my first attempt
at writing a regular newsletter so please cut me some slack…
but feedback, good or bad, is welcome. Just be nice please!


Martial Arts Over 40 (.com) came about because of a book that I
read called, funnily enough, Martial Arts After 40.

It’s written by Dr Sang H. Kim, a WTF Taekwon-Do practitioner. Dr
Kim has written several martial arts books and I used to own a
couple of them (until they managed to get soaking wet in the back
of my car – long story!)

So when I saw this book specifically targetted at the over 40
practitioner I grabbed it. And I really enjoyed it. You see, I’m
struggling with a serious long-term shoulder injury, as well as
worsening knees. And sometimes keeping on training is a struggle.

But this book, in fact the quote below, helped me put all that
into perspective.

In fact, martial artists often get better, not worse, with

Perhaps you are not as fast or flexible as the younger
students in class.

Perhaps you don’t recover as quickly from your workouts or
you are bothered by new aches and pains that you easily
shook off when you were younger.

These are minor obstacles when you consider the benefits
that come with age.

The wisdom to slow down, to see the lessons in every class,
to mentor younger students, to laugh at the macho posturing
and go your own way, to discover yourself from the inside

That is what martial arts after 40 is about; a journey of
self, a discovery of the boundlessness of your mind and
body, working as one, expressing your inner joy and wisdom.

I love it!

If you want to know more about the book you can read the review
I wrote. You can find that here:


I’d love to hear from you! One of my hopes for the Martial Arts
over 40 website is for it to become a source of inspiration for

Inspiration to keep on training, or for those who have not yet
started and are wondering if they can do it.

One of the ways to achieve that is to show the world how many of
us there are doing the martial arts!

If you would like to be featured on the website, then get in
touch with me and I’ll let you know how to get on the site.

You’ll be able to link back to your school/organization too.


That’s it for today,

If you’ve got any comments, thoughts, ideas, feedback or abuse
then please contact me by replying to this email.


P.S. I’m kidding about the abuse!


Recommend Alive and Kicking To a Friend!


Don’t keep it to yourself – send them to today!


Quote of the Day


Gichin Funakoshi said,

To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the
highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the
highest skill.


Just For Fun


Did you know that the ears of a cricket are located on the front
legs, just below the knee?

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