Alive and Kicking – Martial Arts Over 40
Monday 3 October 2011: Issue #1
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Published by Brett Kraiger. Your comments are always welcome.
Welcome to the first ever issue of Alive and Kicking. To be
honest with you as I sit down to start typing this I am feeling
fairly nervous. I’m normally a fairly shy and retiring type so to
come out with a newsletter like this is actually well out of my
But if you are not constantly challenging yourself to try
difficult things then you are not really getting stuck in to
life… so here I am.
And I think that it’s really important that people like you and
me are starting to explore just what it means to be active in the
martial arts as more mature students.
Not just important, but exciting and interesting as well!
Even though the site’s been up and running for only a short time
it’s already become clear that there is a wide range of people
interested in the subject.
I know there is at least one 8th Dan Master instructor who joined
the Facebook page. And there is at least one person who hasn’t
even started the martial arts yet!
So that’s a lot of ground to cover… and it will be interesting
to see where the conversation goes.
Actually that’s a really important point I want to make, so I
might as well make it now. I really want this to become a
conversation, rather than just me sending out a one-way
So there will be lots of ways for you to give me feedback, or
share information with the wider group, and I will make it clear
later on in this email how you can do that.
Today I want to talk a little bit about being overweight and how
it can impact on your ability to have a long and fruitful martial
One of the things that happens to a lot of people as they age is
that they start to put on a bit of weight. Or they have to be a
lot more cautious about what they eat, in order to maintain a
Unfortunately I can talk with a fair degree of authority on how
being overweight can severely limit your enjoyment of your
Also how it increases the chance of injury, and really makes life
in the martial arts way more difficult than it needs to be.
And way more demoralizing.
Ever since I was about 20 I’ve had trouble with my weight. I’ve
basically spent my entire adult life overweight. Sometimes a
little overweight. And sometimes a LOT overweight.
What do I mean by a LOT? Well I’m 5’6″, and in January I weighed
111kgs (245lbs). Thankfully that was the highest weight I ever
got to. Normally I would hover around the 100kg (220lb) mark.
As I started to get a bit older I really started to notice it
more and more. No more could I use my youth to cover up for the
fact I was carrying a ton of extra weight around.
Just being overweight puts a lot of extra strain on your joints.
Your feet, ankles, knees and hips do an amazing job of supporting
the entire human body weight. But when there’s extra pounds on
top, the strain is huge.
Our joints carry the weight of our bodies. The more weight we
have to carry, the harder it is for our joints to work properly.
Even small changes in weight can significantly affect the joint
pain experienced by an individual. Don’t believe that? Try a
simple test of carrying 15 pounds of weight while doing all of
your normal activities.
Even small weight changes make a big difference because joint
forces in the hips and knees increase about 3 times that weight
with normal walking. This means that 15 pounds of extra body
weight is felt by the knees as an extra 45 pounds.
And on top of that, imagine the extra stresses you put on your
body when actively training in a martial art
For my body, it was too much. I spent most of the time either
injured and unable to fully participate, or fearful that I would
injure myself if I attempted certain things.
Thankfully it’s starting to become much less of a problem for me.
Over the last 8 months I’ve lost nearly 20kgs (45lbs). This still
leaves me at a fairly high 91kgs (200lbs), but a lot of that
weight now comes from muscle that I never had before.
Now, I’ve still got injury problems, but they are caused by the
long years of training on an already injured knee while
But other than that, before that old knee injury flared up again,
things were going amazingly. I noticed that I was getting around
the floor a lot more quickly again, I was giving my students a
run for their money. I was able to lead by example again.
And then one day I realized my kicks were getting higher again. I
was kicking higher than I had done in a VERY long time. I really
went home with a smile on my face that night!
So now with hindsight I can flat out say to you… it’s a whole
lot easier to train, stay active, stay motivated, and to show
those youngsters what life’s really about, when you are carrying
a lot less weight around.
So if this applies to you, or perhaps you’ve started to notice a
bit of a “spreading of the middle”, bear in mind the impact that
this could have on your training.
Don’t do it the hard way like me!
I might go into how I lost all that weight. In fact I’ve got some
exciting things that I’d like to bring to martialartsover40.com
to really help you with that if it’s a problem for you.
Speaking of old knee injuries. Last week I had to have an MRI
scan on my knee. The doctor wants to know what is going on in a
particular area of my knee which is showing signs of bone
Doesn’t sound good does it! He says it might be a sign that the
joint is “struggling”.
Anyway, back to the MRI. I think I must be slightly
claustrophobic. I really cannot stand the thought of an MRI
machine. The little hole they put you in is ridiculously small.
Surely that could be designed better.
With a knee scan they put you in feet first, but they still have
to get your knee to the center of the machine. So you are on this
little table and you are just sliding, sliding, sliding into this
tiny little space. Honestly it’s not a lot wider than your
And even though I’d had one before, and knew that it would only
go up to my chest, it was still a really horrible feeling.
Maybe the one they did on my shoulder made the experience worse.
That was a 45 minute scan stuck on a table… but of course this
time it was Head-first.
Wow that one really called on my inner calming and breathing
skills I can tell you!
I’m determined to try and keep this newsletter pretty short. I
haven’t done too well on that front today have I?
As the site is so new, and we’ve only just started the
conversation, I would really love to know what it is that you are
looking for from the site and the newsletter.
I’ve already had an email today from Richard, who was saying how
hard it is to find lesson plans or training techniques for the
older martial artist. Thanks Richard for that!
So please, let me know what you would like to see covered. What
is it that you would love to know, but are struggling to find
I’d also love to hear from people about what strategies they are
using to keep up in class. Whether you are a master instructor or
brand new beginner, let us know what you do – either in class or
So, if you’ve got something to share, or hints and tips for the
older practitioner then make sure to send them through and I’ll
make sure the wider group gets to see them.
How to contact me? 2 ways really.
If you are happy to post your question or comment on Facebook,
then go to https://www.facebook.com/martialartsover40. Make sure
to “Like” the page so you get the updates, but leave your
comments there too.
Alternatively if you want to be a little more discreet, then just
reply to this email and it will come straight to me!
At some stage I will be building an archive and feedback area on
Thank you so much for subscribing (and reading!). I’ll be back in
All the best!
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Quote of the Day
Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach
down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce
of power it takes to win when the match is even.
– Muhammad Ali
Just For Fun
Did you know … it is impossible to hum if your nose is plugged.