I recently got given a Kindle as a present, and when I went to the Kindle store for the first time, I was presented with a range of suggested books. The first of which was “Martial Arts After 40” by Sang H. Kim. Quite impressive of Amazon I thought, especially since I don’t recall ever giving them my birthdate!
I already own a book by Sang H. Kim, and knowing how good that was, I decided to buy it. And I’m glad I did!
It’s hard to say whether the book is aimed at the beginner or the experienced martial artist, but I think there is something in there for everyone. The book begins with a discussion about the importance of physical fitness, and why it is particularly important after you hit 40. It acknowledges that your physical abilities may feel like they are declining.
Perhaps you are not as fast or as flexible as you used to be, but you still have a lot to gain from undertaking a martial art.
Here’s an excerpt from the book:
In fact, martial artists often get better, not worse, with age. Perhaps you are not as fast or flexible as the younger students in class. Perhaps you don’t recover as quickly from your workouts or you are bothered by new aches and pains that you easily shook off when you were younger. These are minor obstacles when you consider the benefits that come with age. The wisdom to slow down, to see the lessons in every class, to mentor younger students, to laugh at the macho posturing and go your own way, to discover yourself from the inside out. That is what martial arts after 40 is about; a journey of self, a discovery of the boundlessness of your mind and body, working as one, expressing your inner joy and wisdom.
The second section, which I think is aimed more towards the beginner, describes a ton of exercises to help improve your agility, flexibility, power, reflexes, coordination, speed and endurance. All with an emphasis on the over-40 practitioner. The experienced martial artist will probably have seen all these exercises at one stage or another, but for the beginner these are a great resource. And for the experienced, they do serve as a good reminder.
This section finishes with how to create a training plan, and warns about injury and overtraining.
Following from that is a series of chapters about skill development, self defence, sparring (with tactics to help you spar well against the younger members), forms and weapons training.
And the final sections go to the next level, talking about the more mental aspects of training, plus the practicalities of fitting training around work and family comittments.
The very last chapter, Mastery Points, gives the more advanced martial artist some points to think about, and perhaps some new concepts to bring into their training. These are to be read one at a time, and for you to ponder their meaning for you and your martial arts.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I must admit that I skipped through the exercise section pretty quickly because I’d seen them all before, but the rest of the book was really great at helping me put my future involvement in the martial arts into perspective.
Sometimes it is hard when you have young fit students doing amazing things with their bodies and you can only look back on what you used to be able to do.
This book has really allowed me for the first time to contemplate the martial arts in a different light, and understand what I still have to gain from my continued practice.
You can find Martial Arts After 40 at Amazon.com.