Alive and Kicking – Martial Arts Over 40
Monday 14 November 2011: Issue #7
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Published by Brett Kraiger. Your comments are always welcome.
Welcome to edition seven of Alive and Kicking, the newsletter
for martial artists over 40.
Today I want to take a look at perseverance. I do ITF Taekwon-Do,
and amongst the core principles or tenets of Taekwon-Do is
A quick look for a definition found the following:
Perseverance: doggedness, steadfastness. Perseverance,
persistence, tenacity, imply resolute and unyielding holding on
in following a course of action.
Perseverance commonly suggests activity maintained in spite of
difficulties or steadfast and long-continued application.
When doing a martial art there are always going to be times where
you come up against challenges. Actually that’s one of the things
that I really love about doing a martial art – there’s always
something else to challenge yourself with. You are never going to
attain perfection so there is always going to be something to
One of my instructors said to me often “The hardest thing about
Taekwon-Do is turning up.” I didn’t really understand him at the
time, because at the time I was highly motivated and really
enjoying my training. It wasn’t until I was going through a rough
patch with my training that I really began to understand what he
By making yourself turn up to class regularly you get to stay in
touch with your martial art, you get to challenge yourself, and
you get to learn new things. You get physical exercise and you
also get to empty your mind of your worries for a short while.
But if instead you choose not to go to training, but to sit in
front of the TV, or maybe stay at work to finish off that last
thing you need to do, you are missing out on all of that.
But the worst thing is that it also makes it that little bit
easier to skip training the next time. And before you know it
your martial art ceases to be an important part of your life and
you let it slip.
And once you get on that slippery slope, it’s not long before you
have quit. You might not realize that you have quit, because you
might never make the conscious decision to actually quit. You
just sort of stop going.
So make it a point to turn up to training. If it’s in your
schedule then make sure to go. Two things will happen: firstly
you will get a work out and a respite the worries of the real
world, but secondly you maintain that habit of turning up to
training every time, and don’t ever get started on the slippery
The above doesn’t just apply to martial arts of course. Actually
what inspired me to write about that subject was something that’s
been happening in another area of my life. I’ve mentioned a
couple of times that I’ve been on a bit of a mission to lose
weight this year.
And I have been doing really well, sticking to my exercise plan
and my eating plan. But recently I got sick and also had a couple
of injuries flare up, and suddenly it got harder to exercise as
regularly as I had been. And then before I knew it I was starting
to eat rubbish again.
It started with something little. Like I grabbed a chocolate bar
one day instead of a banana. You know .. just one little treat.
But that sort of broke the spell, and then next thing you know
I’m starting to get back into some bad eating habits.
What amazed me is how quickly I found myself eating foods I
hadn’t eaten for months, and how quickly I went from being really
diligent to almost not caring!
It’s very similar to what I was saying about turning up regularly
to training. Miss one class, and it becomes a lot easier to miss
another class. Have one chocolate bar, and suddenly that ice
cream doesn’t seem so bad.
I’m not quite back on track yet, but I’m getting there. I had an
awesome workout at the gym today. I haven’t been that sweaty in
the gym in a long time. I’m sure it will only take a few sessions
like that and I’ll be back on track. I find that if I exercise
that I don’t want to eat bad food because it will basically undo
all the good work that I have done.
Shihan Keiko Fukuda was recently promoted to 10th degree black
belt in Judo. I found a great video about this amazing woman on
YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfLNCvvzFfU
It’s an amazing story of a lifetime in martial arts and it’s a
Note too that it is an excerpt of a longer film which is a work
in progress, and in need of funding. Under the video there are
some linke to their website where you can choose to donate if you
If you can’t watch the whole thing, fast forward to the 7:10
point. You might want to keep a box of tissues handy.
That is it for Alive and Kicking this week. As always, I really
love to get your feedback.
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All the best!
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Quote of the Day
Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is courage
– Winston Churchill
Just For Fun
The technology contained in a single game boy unit in 2000
exceeds all the computing power that was used to put the first
man on moon in 1969.