Alive and Kicking #11 – Medical Study Proves Martial Arts Benefits Are Wide-Ranging, and A Full Body Assessment

by on December 12, 2011

in Alive and Kicking


Alive and Kicking – Martial Arts Over 40


Monday 12 December 2011: Issue #11

Alive and Kicking is published once a week for opted-in subscribers only. If a friend has forwarded this to you, please opt-in at

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’m going to look into a really interesting medical study that shows the amazing benefits we gain from the martial arts.


This study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2004. They did a study of 14 men and 4 women between the ages of 40 – 60. Half of these people led sedentary lives, and the other half were Soo Bahk Do practitioners.

The results were clear, and not at all surprising really… the martial artists were significantly fitter than their sedentary counterparts. The following is a part of the conclusion of the study.


There were significant differences between the groups for most of the physical fitness tests. The SBD practitioners displayed greater aerobic capacity, balance, flexibility, muscle endurance, and strength, and less body fat than the sedentary controls matched for age and sex.  

… Health professionals should be aware that there are alternative methods to traditional exercise that can increase the physical fitness and health of the middle aged population.


What I really like about this study and the result is that it wasn’t just one type of fitness that the SBD guys and gals excelled in, but the whole range of physical fitness attributes.

SBD was the only exercise that the people in the study did. Over the course of several years of training twice a week they have managed to get themselves significantly fitter than their sedentary peers.

And that’s all-round fitness. And of course this fitness extends beyond just being stronger and more flexible. This fitness extends into everyday life and your general wellness.


… health-related physical fitness is a state characterised by an ability to perform daily activities with vigour, and a demonstration of traits and capacities that are associated with low risk of premature development of the hypokinetic diseases.

Developing and maintaining fitness includes exercises that address cardiorespiratory endurance, optimal body composition, muscle strength and endurance, flexibility and balance in the older adult.

Incorporating all components of fitness is associated with a lower risk of developing disease and functional disability.


I think that one of the most interesting results is the balance measure. The test for balance was simple – stand on a firm surface on one leg with your eyes closed. The SBD practitioners were able to do this for nearly 2.5 times as long as the sedentary group.

This mirrors other results I have seen for Tai Chi practitioners at an even older age. Given how easy it is to badly injure yourself from a loss of balance this to me is a significant result.

So I guess all that there is left to say on this subject is… keep it up! You have a huge health advantage over your more sedentary peers. What’s more – tell your friends about the study and get them involved in the martial arts. Direct them to to help them get started


Last week I talked about Lee Parore, who spoke at a seminar I attended. He talked about how the whole body is interconnected and that the slightest thing out of alignment in one place can lead to all sorts of problems throughout your body. For example if your neck is slightly out, then your hips will go out as well. He covers all of this in his book Power Posture.

I’ve also mentioned a few times about how I have a long-standing shoulder injury. One of the things that has happened as a result of this injury is that the left shoulder is now quite a bit higher than the right one. I hadn’t really noticed it until I made a video for the Martial Arts over 40 Facebook page (it’s dated Oct 2 2011 if you want to take a look). In that video you can quite clearly see that my left shoulder is way higher than the right shoulder.

As a result of the above, and with thanks to Louise – my student who graded to 4th Dan recently – tomorrow I’m off to see an expert physiologist to have a full body assessment done. Louise saw the impact that Lee Parore’s talk had on me, and has also seen my determination this year to regain my health and fitness. And so as a thank-you for helping her with her grading she has gifted me this assessment. It’s an inspired gift!

According to the blurb on their website this is what I’ll be getting:


Your posture, core stability and the way you move are integral to your overall health and function. Specialized exercise physiology services begin with a specialized muscle balance and lifestyle assessment. This initial holistic assessment of your physical presentation looks at your posture, joint range of movement, core strength/stability, and analyses your Movement Patterns . This assessment is a warrant of fitness for your body and health.


I’m really looking forward to it. I know already that my shoulder is out of whack, and that my knee is bung, but tomorrow is probably the first time that I’ll get the whole story!

It will be good to get professional advise on what’s up with my body… and how to fix it up.

#~#~#I received an email today from one of Alive and Kicking’s newest subscribers…. (Hi Pete!). One of the things that Pete mentioned was how he’d been trying to get back into shape for martial arts, but injured himself in the process.This is a subject that I have a lot of experience with, having done the same thing many times myself, and Pete’s email has inspired me to write about those experiences and what I have learned from them. I’m not going to write about them right now, but will add something to the website in the near future.Keep an eye out for that. And if you have anything else you would like to see on the site or in this newsletter then you can get hold of me by replying directly to this email, comment on  Facebook or leave your comments on the website.

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

All the best!



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Quote of the Day


It’s not just self defense, it’s about…self control, body discipline, and mind discipline…and breath techniques. It involves yoga. It involves meditation. It’s an art, not a sport.

– Elvis Presley


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