It comes to us all eventually, it’s one of the hardest things that I’ve personally have had to deal with and am still dealing with to be honest.
Ageing and not being able to do what I used to do!
Last year I reached the half century in years, no other number has really affected me as much as the big 50. I loved becoming 40, I was proud of what I could still do at an age when I thought I was getting beyond it. Then as I got into my late 40’s, things started to go downhill fast!
It’s a big shock, I am actually feeling old now! I’m needing more rest between workouts before my legs start to feel normal again. My flexibility is the worst it’s ever been, because of this I’m not pushing myself as much so my fitness is at an all time low. My hips and knees are giving me grief most of the day. I’m finding myself explaining to our younger students to not copy me and aim to kick at your maximum height.
I’m not selling the benefits of a life in Martial Arts am I?, And yet I wouldn’t change a thing!
How much of this is in my mind? They do say that age is just a number, and I also know a lot of martial artists older than myself still looking sharp and kicking head height. I believe it’s a bit of both, obviously our bodies do change as we age and yes I do think reaching 50 has been an ordeal in my mind for lots of reasons. My limbs are probably suffering from all the hardcore “No pain no gain” mentality that I used to have.
So is this a bad thing? It could be, depending on how I look at it. Our Mission statement for our club reads:
“ Martial arts should be enjoyed and benefited by people of all ages and ability”
I actually believe that everything we go through, our battles and life struggles are there to teach us something. I’ve mentioned above about the drawbacks of becoming middle aged but there are plenty of positives.
I believe that our club attracts a lot more varied students than if I was an instructor in my 20’s and an amazing kicker with athletic ability. People want to see that you can still adapt and enjoy martial arts at any age. On the other hand, we do have young instructors and coaches that can kick high and do the more mobile techniques which is also helping me grow as an instructor because I am using my helpers to demonstrate more.
I also know a lot more about how to train correctly as I have learnt the hard way, one of my instructors Steve Rowe often calls it “training intelligently” Meaning to take care of your body so you can still train in your later years. Steve is a massive inspiration for so many people as he has had so many health problems and has had to have one of his legs amputated from the knee down and can still teach a great class with loads of depth.
Getting older has also helped my martial knowledge in that I have taken to a lot of internal martial arts which has made me so much more mindful of how I’m moving and deepened my understanding of all the other arts that I have done and teach.
It’s about enjoying the journey!
This is a term that gets branded about a lot and is hard to really take on board in all honesty. What makes it hard for most people is that they live in the past. I have always struggled with this and am working on staying present all the time. What helps is asking yourself, do I still enjoy my training and teaching, the answer for me is always a big fat yes! I am still researching constantly and going over things in my head, I still love mixing it up with the other students, whether that’s sparring, drilling partner work or just on the pads. Yes I may be training differently than I used to but I’m still loving it. I’ve also got a lot better with my hands as I don’t rely on my legs so much now.
The last thing that is so blooming good with training in your mature years is that our ego’s have got a lot smaller, I’ve got nothing to prove anymore, where when I was younger, wearing a black belt or teaching a class, you are expected to look good, maybe not, but you always want to. I’ve now got an excuse 🙂 .
I’ll have to revisit this blog post in another 10 years to see how my training is going then, for now I’m just going to keep pushing this body in a sensible and mindful way and keep learning from great instructors to bring quality martial arts to Hereford.
So if you are thinking about whether you are too old to start, please be assured that you will be in safe hands with an instructor that knows how to adapt your training to suit your body.