Alive and Kicking #10 – Dem Dry Bones, Age Is Just A Number, and Success

by on December 7, 2011

in Alive and Kicking


Alive and Kicking – Martial Arts Over 40


Monday 5 December 2011: Issue #10

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Published by Brett Kraiger. Your comments are always welcome.



Welcome to this weeks edition of Alive and Kicking, the newsletter for martial artists over 40.


In last week’s newsletter I talked a bit about fitness. It’s a subject that I’m going to touch on again today. But this time with a bit of a twist.

I actually think I’ve had a bit of a personal breakthrough in my thinking about my fitness.

This weekend I had the privilege of attending a conference with most of the instructors in our national organization. The conference, a 5-yearly event, is not a technical seminar, but deliberately aimed at giving the instructors some “food for thought”. The concept behind the seminar was to introduce some new ideas and perhaps give the instructors something to help “freshen-up” their approach to training. Both their own training and also what they have on offer for their students.

A big focus this year was on fitness, and in particular general preparation for the physical activity of the martial arts.

For me the “aha! moment” came when we had a talk from a guy called Lee Parore. Lee is a kinesiologist, naturopath, NMT practitioner, Shiatsu practitioner, personal trainer and author. He has trained many excellent athletes, rugby players and boxers here in New Zealand.

Lee’s main message was that the body is a well-oiled machine, all inter-connected, and that if even one part of the machine is out of alignment or not quite working properly, then this will have an impact elsewhere in the body. And in some quite surprising ways.

For example, one of the things he talked about was the way the body will automatically try to level out the eyes on a horizontal plane – always trying to keep the horizon on an even keel.

So if the joint between the neck and the head is a little out of alignment, so that your head is on a slight angle, the body will correct this by putting your hip out of alignment in the other direction. You are not even aware this is happening, and the reason it’s happening is because of this desire to have a level horizon.

He was also talking about the fascia, a “spider-web” of connective tissue that crosses the body in many ways. And how if the fascia is being pulled out of place in one part of the body it will affect you in another part of the body.

And finally he went into great depth about the iliopsoas muscle (also known as the hip flexor), and how it connects the legs to the spine – and is the only muscle that has this direct connection.

It’s hard to describe in this newsletter exactly what he was describing, but essentially he was promoting that you needed to ensure that the internal mechanisms of the body, being the skeleton, core muscles, and the fascia, all had to be in alignment or you will start to get problems all over the place.

Sitting there listening to him, with my dodgy shoulder, worn-out knees, a suspect calf muscle, and stiffening achilles tendons, it finally dawned on me that these were not unrelated problems. I’d always considered that each of these were isolated.

But now I realize that they are probably not isolated at all! The tension in my shoulder muscles is probably putting my spine out of alignment (or perhaps it’s the other way around). This misalignment is carried through my body and into my legs through the psoas muscle and probably misaligned hips – all putting pressure on the knees and ankles.

I don’t profess to know all about this, but for the first time I now believe the old song “The kneebone is connected to the thighbone, the thighbone is connected to the hipbone”

And I believe I can now see a way forward to get my somewhat damaged body back into full working order.

If you are interested in learning more about this, Lee Parore has written a book called Power Posture. I’ve just bought it myself and am just starting to read it. I had to pull myself away from the book to write this newsletter, and I’ll be going straight back to it once I’ve sent this out 🙂


The other thing that I took away from the weekend was something that one of the Master instructors had to say. Master Daher was asked his age at one stage and he said he was 21! But what I really liked was that he said that if you ask him next year he’ll tell you that he’s 20  😉

As far as he’s concerned, age is just a number, and he;s not going to let the number fool him into thinking he’s “past it”.

During his preparation for his testing to 8th Dan he said he was doing 800 situps every night! Most people his age and rank don’t sit “physical” tests, but are promoted by virtue of their contribution to the art.

Master Daher was having none of that, and put in a fantastic physical performance at his grading.


Speaking of testing for new ranks – I mentioned in my last newsletter that one of my students was testing for 4th Dan at the weekend. I’m pleased to be able to report that she was successful, as were the 12 other candidates from the weekend testing for 4th, 5th and 6th Dan.

It was a tough test, with all the different aspects of Taekwon-Do being tested over a 6 hour period. All the candidates definitely deserved their promotions.


That is it for Alive and Kicking this week. As always, I really love to get your feedback.

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Thank you for subscribing (and reading!). Back in a week. In the meantime, let me know what you would like to see in the next newsletter.

All the best!



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Quote of the Day


You may train for a long time, but if you merely move your hands and feet and jump up and down like a puppet, learning Karate is not very different from learning a dance. You will never have reached the heart of the matter; you will have failed to grasp the quintessence of karate-do.

– Gichin Funakoshi


Just For Fun


A cockroach can live several weeks with its head cut off – it dies from starvation!



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