Alive and Kicking – Martial Arts Over 40
Monday 31 October 2011: Issue #5
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Published by Brett Kraiger. Your comments are always welcome.
Welcome to edition five of Alive and Kicking, the newsletter
for martial artists over 40.
Today we’ve got a bit of a pep talk on why you need to keep on
going in the martial arts, plus an amazing physical feat from a
71 year old.
One of the things about training as an older martial artist,
whether you have been training for some time or whether you are
just starting out, is that it is difficult not to compare
yourself to the “young guns” around you (or perhaps compare
yourself to what you were like 20 years ago).
You might be sparring or grappling with these younger students
and it’s difficult because they will often be fitter, faster and
more agile. They are not operating under the weight of those
extra years (and accumulated injuries!)
For many people this can be the deal-breaker, the thing that
finally causes them to stop training. They look around them and
think to themselves, “gee I can never achieve that”. Or perhaps
“I used to be able to do this flying kick so much higher”. Maybe
you start to wonder if you can keep up.
This is “stinking thinking”, and if it’s an issue for you then
it’s something that you are going to have to get rid of.
Anybody who has been around in martial arts for long enough will
know that it is not about comparing yourself to others. However
it is only human nature to do exactly that.
You have to get it into your head that the only person you have
to prove yourself to, and to compare yourself to, is yourself.
And by that I mean the yourself of today, not the young person
from 20 years ago!
Are you training hard? Are you still pushing yourself? Are you
learning new skills? Are some skills becoming easier to do, even
while some of the more dynamic skills get harder?
The most important thing is that you are still turning up. Just
keep on turning up, and keep on getting that physical training
in. Realize just how far that puts you ahead of someone your age
who is at home in front of the TV!
Me personally, I’m finding that I’m learning a whole lot more
about getting in closer to my opponent and using my core strength
and balance to upset that of my partner. It’s something I’ve only
started to explore more recently, because up until now I didn’t
really need it.
But with the accumulation of injuries and general wear and tear,
I find it a lot harder to move around the floor quickly, so I
need to work out other ways of gaining an advantage.
For me, getting in closer and exploring that “zone” is working
well. And I’m learning new stuff all the time. It’s keeping me
interested. And it keeps me turning up over and over again!
In the last newsletter I talked about the importance of your core
strength and how it makes all your movement much easier if you
develop those core muscles.
I mentioned the “plank” in that newsletter, and talked about
increasing your time holding that position, starting at a minute
or two, and increasing your time slowly.
Well you should check out this article on examiner.com… 71 year
old Betty Lou Sweeney held the plank position for a world record
36 minutes and 58 seconds.
37 minutes in the plank position. Now that’s something else!
I’ve had a pretty rough month with illness and injury. Nothing
serious, just my knee playing up big time, and then catching a
flu bug and finally topping it off with a chest infection!
Although I expected all of this would knock me about a bit
physically, I was a little unprepared for how much it would knock
This year has seen me really focusing on my fitness and weight
after a number of years of not being at my best (a long story for
another day). And I’ve been really feeling great in the gym and
in the dojang, and the weight has dropped off consistently.
But this month with limited exercise has left me feeling
lethargic and way less enthusiastic about exercise, Taekwon-Do
and life in general.
And my diet, over the last week in particular, has been terrible!
It just goes to show how important regular exercise is to your
overall well-being. Not just how you feel physically, but how you
I know what the answer is… I’ve got to get back into the
routine of exercising regularly and to get back into the healthy
This week is the week… I’m going to force myself to get back on
track through sheer willpower, and I know that in a week’s time
I’ll be right back into it!
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
All the best!
Recommend Alive and Kicking To a Friend!
Don’t keep it to yourself – send them to
Quote of the Day
First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you
have to do.
Just For Fun
Super Glue was invented by accident. The researcher was trying to
make optical coating materials, and would test their properties
by putting them between two prisms and shining light through
them. When he tried the cyano-acrylate, he couldn’t get the
(I had to put this one in today… I’ve just finished fixing my
son’s toy truck and nearly glued my fingers together!)