If your understanding of the martial arts comes from the movies as it does
for most people then you can be forgiven for thinking that only 20 year olds
practice the traditional martial arts.
One five time winner of the U.S. national grand-championships won his
division titles while in his sixties having started his training in karate
at forty-seven years old because he was double his health weight and had
As the fitness generation edges up into their pre-senior years they have
kept their attitude about fitness for health and refused to go gently into
muscle loss and frailty. In their search for a stronger and healthier
retirement they have the support of a number of university studies that have
focused on identifying the process of ageing and methods to slow the process
DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY IN HALIFAX reports that after the age of thirty the
changes of ageing, loss of muscle mass and strength, brittle bones and
tighter joints are inevitable.
Since these changes are exactly the same as the deterioration you suffer
from an inactive lifestyle, if you do not exercise into your forties and
fifties you are in effect doubling these detrimental body changes.
The good news is that the ageing process can be drasticallly slowed down by
a number of things, one of which is exercise, which also reverses the losses
attributed to an easy rider of the easy chair lifestyle.
"Active people decline at a far slower [rate]...That means that people who
are physically fit can lead an actve life longer. They'll be able to take
care of themselves [better than] someone who is sedentary."
They also claim that it is never too late to gain the benefits of exercise
whether you are looking for muscle tone, muscle building [size] or joint
loosening. Emotional benefits of starting an active lifestyle at any age
include feeling better from the release of stress and tension, decrease in
depression and increase in self confidence. Osteoporosis (brittle bones) and
balance problems also decrease.
While Victoria doctor Richard Backus whose credits include the dramatic
recovery of Olympic rower Silken Laumann, is mostly involved with the
rehabilitation of injuries, he has found that his work translates well into
the special problems of the elderly.
"Much of the ageing we see is not an inevitable process but rather a decline
due to prolonged inactivity. We need to reactivate those people."
Even if you are presently nursing an old injury, exercise and not rest is
one recommended cure.
"Activity is the key to recovery from soft tissue back injuries, not
extended bed rest," says Dr. Kelly Flannigan of Victoria's Summit
Rehabilitation. Dr. Flannigan is also known for prescribing martial arts
techniques to help show clients how to use legs and hips, and not their
BUT WHY A MARTIAL ART?
The True Goal of martial arts training is to Better Ourselves:
to be more capable
to better achieve our goals
to be more calm, peaceful and content
Character Improvements that students often describe about martial arts
increased self esteem
increased self confidence
increased assertiveness emotional control and stress relief
ability to work cooperatively in a group
ability to lead others
initiative and independent learning
understanding of other races and cultures
increased anaerobic efficiency
increased aerobic fitness
increased strength and flexibility
firm and tone your body
enhanced abilities in all other activities
mind / body unity and harmony
left / right brain hemisphere integration
Increases in balance and coordination will be experienced relatively
These changes will enhance your abilities in all your activities in your
Martial arts training is perfect for all those who hate the mindless
repetition of jogging or aerobics classes. Add in the enjoyment of learning
about a new culture, the culture of origin of the style you choose, and
another world of learning and opportunity for growth presents itself. This article was written by Ted Truscott, author of Canadian Law: Self Defense and the Martial
Artist, past editor of Focus Point Martial Arts Magazine and a
contributor to the prestigious Canadian Martial Arts Magazine and the
Martial Arts Free Press. Ted is a third degree black belt with the Western Canada Butoku Kai in Shorin-ji Ryu Karate.
He earned his Masters Degree in Martial Science from the Eurotechnical
Research University of Hawaii, College of Martial Science. Visit his web page at http://raisingcanes.net