Alive and Kicking #12 – Proper Preparation To Avoid Injury, and Over 40 Martial Arts Community

by on December 19, 2011

in Alive and Kicking


Alive and Kicking – Martial Arts Over 40


Monday 19 December 2011: Issue #12
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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. Today I am going to share with you a little bit more about injury and how to avoid it.


I mentioned last week that one of MAO40’s subscribers, Pete, had written to me to tell me about how he had suddenly got all keen to get back into the martial arts, and had started preparing himself for this by jumping on the treadmill and running. And then within a short time he had developed tendonitis in his knee and basically had to stop training.

As soon as I saw that email I knew that I had found a kindred spirit! I can’t begin to tell you how many times that I have had a very similar story.

To be honest, for a lot of my martial art career I have carried too much weight around my middle. I would get myself into reasonable shape for my gradings, but then let it slip again. Carrying all that weight puts a lot of strain on the body, but I kept on going. I often wonder how much heavier I would have been had I not been doing Taekwon-Do!

Because of this lack of physical fitness, and because of some other health issues I had, it took me a long time between testings. In ITF Taekwon-Do, once you hit 2nd Dan you have to wait 2 years before going for 3rd Dan black belt, and then 3 years before your 4th Dan. So that’s a minimum of 5 years between 2nd Dan and 4th Dan. I took 13 years.

A part of what was happening in that time was that every now and then I would get all motivated to gear up and get myself back into shape, and I would launch straight into a pretty heavy training program. And then sure enough I would soon get injured and find myself once again hobbling around with a calf injury or hamstring tear. These were my favorite injuries 🙂

Most of these injuries would go away pretty quickly, to the point where I would think I could train again, but inevitably I would launch straight back into training too early, and too hard, and then go back to square one and have to start rehabilitation all over again.

And of course during this time I sustained my persistent shoulder injury which has been going on for more than 3 years now. It’s hard to know if this injury would have been avoided if I was fitter, but I suspect that it probably wouldn’t have. It got injured during a throw, so there was significant extra resistance to the throw!

Anyway… what’s my point? Well my point is… you need to be conscious of properly preparing your body for the activity that you are wanting to undertake, rather than thinking you can pick up your activity levels where you left off. And especially as you get a little bit older you need to be even more conscious of this. As much as your brain might like to think you are still 25, your body will soon let you know otherwise.

Now I don’t really know for sure, but I’m guessing that before Pete had a bit of a break from training that running was one of his favorite forms of exercise. And then after he’d had several months break from working out, and had put on a bit of weight, he then jumped on the treadmill and immediately started running as if he’d never been away from it. And what do you know… injury soon followed.

If you are wanting to get back into training, or if you are already doing martial arts but want to take it to the next level, make sure to step up your training slowly. If you are anything like me you want results NOW! But the only thing you are likely to get if you launch into high intensity training is injury and more time on the couch!

Be patient with yourself, and the results will slowly and surely come. I’ve been on a personal mission this year to get right back into top shape. So far I’ve lost 18kg (40lb), and improved my strength and fitness considerably. But this has taken me 11 months so far. (Plus I still have quite some way to go).  I’ve managed to drop my weight fairly consistently, and build up my strength slowly.

The key is to do it slowly, don’t rush anything, be patient, transition into higher intensity.

Do the work and allow the results to come in their own good time. It will be better for you in the long run.


If only I would take my own advice!… For our black belt gradings a component of the test is ‘the run’ – a 2.4km (1.5mi) run as fast as you can possibly go. At one point after I’d lost bit of weight I thought.. “Woohoo I’m fitter now. I’m going to have a go at ‘the run'”.

Of course the right thing to do would be to build up to it slowly. Perhaps add in a short run into my training. Start at maybe 1km and build it up from there. Or perhaps do a walk/run combination and slowly transition into more running and less walking.

The wrong thing to do is wake up one day and say “Right, I’m going to run 2.4km today. As fast as I can.”

I did the wrong thing. And I’m still paying for it now!


By the way – if you’ve thought about getting into running, but don’t know the best way to get started safely, check out Couch-to-5k.


One thing that I have found in my years of training is that I always really enjoy discussing ideas and sharing insights with other like minded people. Being involved in a community of peers is a great way to learn new things, get great ideas, and to be inspired.

Several comments I have received recently have got me seriously thinking about adding a social component to the Martial Arts over 40 website. Maybe a forum or some other sort of community where you can add your own stories or thoughts, and interact with other like-minded people.

Of course there are forums already out there, but nothing devoted to the over-40 martial artist.

I’m investigating options for that now, and hope to have something up and running in the next month or so. I want to make sure I choose a good solution. If you have any ideas about how to do that then let me know!

In the meantime, if you have any friends in the martial arts who might benefit from such a community, make sure to get them onto this newsletter so they get notified when we go live. The sign-up link is shown further below.


If you have anything you would like to see on the website or in a future newsletter then you can get hold of me by replying directly to this email, commenting on Facebook, or leave your comments on the website (scroll down).

Thank you for subscribing (and reading!). Back in a week.

All the best!


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Quote of the Day


Men are like steel. When they lose their temper, they lose their worth.
– Chuck Norris

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Pete Rindal December 20, 2011 at 9:50 am

Hi all,

I love this website because it just fits in to my lifestyle right now. The information is very helpful and I look forward to hearing from others with a story similar to mine. I’m 44 years old and have tried getting into martial arts training in the past but due to the hours I worked I never made it to class enough to make it worth while. I no longer have that problem so starting the end of month I’m going to try it again. I tried to get myself back in shape before classes start but ran into an injury right away which is slowly healing. My mind seems to want to go faster while my body is slipping into vacation mode. Hope to hear from others soon!
Pete Rindal


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