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OneKickWonder
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 17 Feb 2018
Posts: 513

Styles: Tang soo do

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:50 pm    Post subject: Different styles for different life stages? Reply with quote

Now in my mid 40s, try as I might, I can't kick as rapidly and repeatedly and accurately as I once could. That's OK though. My focus now is more on the joint locks and takedowns. They seem to work better for me. So much so I'm thinking of putting more aikido in my life and less of the high energy stuff.

However, my motivation is my son. I want him to progress in martial arts. He has now power. He's only a kid. I know many aikido fans say it's not about strength but of course it is. In the dojo you might hit the exact spot every time with practice, but in the blind panic of a real situation you're going to need strength and weight to make many of the joint manipulation stuff work. If you're a kid with no strength and no weight but seemingly infinite energy, then the likes of TSD or TKD are ace. Get in fast, land a couple of strikes, get back out fast. That works better for skinny energetic lightweights than more heavy slower older folks.

So this does get me thinking, are different styles more applicable at different life stages? Any thoughts?
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Wastelander
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 18 Oct 2010
Posts: 2413
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there are different expressions of styles for different stages in life, mostly. A dojo-mate of mine is also a Sandan in Aikido, and he trained in a system of Aikido that was hardcore, with a chief instructor known to knock people out and break bones in training. That kind of Aikido might be fine for a younger, fit, tough person, but not so much so for older folks, or people who are less fit or more fragile. This can be applied to most other arts, because every school goes about them a bit differently, and every person who trains does it to fit their needs. Even at 30, I don't find myself throwing that many high kicks, anymore, but I don't feel the need to change styles--there is plenty within my style I can continue to explore and develop. The same is true of other styles, as well.
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Different styles for different life stages? Reply with quote

OneKickWonder wrote:
Now in my mid 40s, try as I might, I can't kick as rapidly and repeatedly and accurately as I once could. That's OK though. My focus now is more on the joint locks and takedowns. They seem to work better for me. So much so I'm thinking of putting more aikido in my life and less of the high energy stuff.

However, my motivation is my son. I want him to progress in martial arts. He has now power. He's only a kid. I know many aikido fans say it's not about strength but of course it is. In the dojo you might hit the exact spot every time with practice, but in the blind panic of a real situation you're going to need strength and weight to make many of the joint manipulation stuff work. If you're a kid with no strength and no weight but seemingly infinite energy, then the likes of TSD or TKD are ace. Get in fast, land a couple of strikes, get back out fast. That works better for skinny energetic lightweights than more heavy slower older folks.

So this does get me thinking, are different styles more applicable at different life stages? Any thoughts?


I can see why some would gravitate to softer arts and away from hard arts as they age. However I do not totally buy into their reasoning.

Yes age catches up with all of us. This does not mean its a bad thing.

With age comes years of experience and knowledge. You develop better technique and become more efficient.

When your young speed and strength are king. When you age technique and efficiency becomes king. These comes with experience and knowledge that only comes with years of training.

My old Judo instructor was in his 70's. This is an art where you get thrown a lot. My first day I was matched up with a much larger and younger man and I spent the entire class trying to match his strength. This, what I perceived as a frail old man matched up with this larger lad at the end of class. This guy was twice the instructors size and I knew he was twice the instructors strength so I was naturally concerned. The funny thing was the larger guy, no matter how hard he tried, was unable to get the better of the instructor. The instructor threw this guy at will and with very little effort.

After class he pulled me aside and said he had watched me try to over power my opponent and constantly get thrown to the ground. He explained that strength was not needed and that proper technique and body positioning would defeat strength every time. He stated that strength and speed can be used against your opponent with proper timing and technique. He demonstrated this on me in the next class, over and over. At first I was barely trying because I did not want to hurt him. After 30 minutes of getting thrown I began to try to over power and throw him. It worked against me and I was being thrown at will. The harder I tried to over power him the easier he was able to throw me.

After a few months of training with the instructor and learning proper technique I was easily besting the larger guy. Not because I had become much stronger but because I learned proper technique.

I've been studying my art for 40 years. I'm not as fast and not as flexible and certainly not as strong as I once was. However I am able to better students 20 and 30 years my junior. The difference is experience and technique.

I don't need to be faster because I'm more efficient in the way I move, attack and defend. I have amassed years of knowledge and understand how to defeat someone that is stronger and faster.

Youth = strength, flexibility and speed.
Age = knowledge, experience, efficiency (economy of motion and timing) and technique.

Loosing strength, flexibility and speed does not mean you have to find a different art or that you can no longer compete with those half your age. Actually I have found the opposite to be true.
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2360
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wastelander wrote:
I think there are different expressions of styles for different stages in life, mostly. A dojo-mate of mine is also a Sandan in Aikido, and he trained in a system of Aikido that was hardcore, with a chief instructor known to knock people out and break bones in training. That kind of Aikido might be fine for a younger, fit, tough person, but not so much so for older folks, or people who are less fit or more fragile. This can be applied to most other arts, because every school goes about them a bit differently, and every person who trains does it to fit their needs. Even at 30, I don't find myself throwing that many high kicks, anymore, but I don't feel the need to change styles--there is plenty within my style I can continue to explore and develop. The same is true of other styles, as well.


This right here.

Itís usually not a matter of finding a new art. Itís about changing the focus of the techniques and the training. At 42, I certainly canít kick like I used to, and I wasnít the best kicker in my 20s anyway. As MatsuShinshii says, itís about changing the strategy. Speed and strength can make up for some flaws, but when that speed and strength declines, those flaws arenít as easily covered up. Then youíve got to really focus on intelligence and technique. Most people I spar with are physically slower and weaker than me. But on the floor theyíre faster and hit harder. How? They know exactly when, where, and how to hit me. They let the fight come to them. They donít expend all this energy trying to make something happen; rather, they see whatís coming and very quickly react. They know their physical limitations and stay within them. They make you fight their fight rather than trying to fight your fight.

An instructor should know how to teach people at different stages of their life, physical abilities, etc. If everyone is expected to have the same strategy and physical attributes, and the teacher canít differentiate instruction to tailor it to the individual, then the teacher isnít a very good teacher. Itís easy to teach one way and only see how it should be done from your perspective. What makes a teacher good is seeing practically anyone and being able to tailor the skills to them while maintaining the artís essence.
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OneKickWonder
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 17 Feb 2018
Posts: 513

Styles: Tang soo do

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both my current style and my current teachers are OK for a good mix of abilities and points of emphasis. However, the style itself has its own biases. TSD has the obvious striking, but also has grappling and takedowns. To a much, much lesser extent it even has some ground work, although to be honest that's negligible.

But, despite its range, TSD is very much biased towards kicking. Sure I could explore the hand techniques and grappling aspects to the nth degree, but I'd be largely training solo because my fellow students seem happy with the focus on kicking. To explore hand techniques and grappling more, I think I need to go elsewhere. Even for basic footwork. It's not the emphasis in TSD. Most of my positioning skill comes from my practice of other styles. Tai sabaki as practiced in aikido really freaks out my TSD friends in sparring. They're just not used to people moving in diagonals and pivoting, or walking into an attack and meeting it rather than blocking and retreating. It's all in TSD, but it's not where the emphasis is.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14334
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose that ones age does catch up with you whether one likes it or not. As the MA goes, per what's a befitting MA style as one ages will vary on ones physicality.

Some might go hard with, for example, Kyukoshin or BJJ. Then as one becomes older, for example, Shotokan or Kung-Fu. Then perhaps when one's much more senior in age, might consider, for example, Tai Chi Chuan or Fencing.

For example.



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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, I regret not starting martial arts at an earlier age. I immensely enjoyed the self-defense class I took in college when I was 20. A decade later, I took an aikido class while in grad school. That was a blast, too. It wasn't until I was 36 that I decided to give MA a go (partially because schools near Detroit are so EXPENSIVE. Things are cheaper where I'm at now.)

20 years ago, injuries didn't phase me for long. Sure, my shoulders still popped out... but that hurt for a couple days instead of a couple weeks. My hip muscles were probably a lot stronger then, too.

10 years ago, things hurt less. I didn't have plantar faciitis... injuries still healed relatively quickly... and I would probably have gained flexibility faster.

All that being said, I've still made progress. My round and side kicks are approaching head-height, and my stamina and core strength are probably much better than the average person these days. Sure, I'm sad I missed MA at some of the stages of my life. But I'll still keep going!
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tallgeese
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 04 May 2008
Posts: 6851
Location: McHenry County, IL
Styles: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Bujin Bugei Jutsu, Gokei Ryu Kempo Jutsu, MMA, Shootfighting, boxing, kickboxing, JKD, Pekiti Tersia Kali

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're totally correct in your assessment. There can very well be a change in what arts you a) are interested in, and b) want to do at various, or even c) are capable of doing.

I also think Wastelander has a point. Within a given art focus can shift. Here's my example:

When I was a young artist, I wanted combatives more than anything. Every part of training was about fighting and done so with a focus on hard style stuff. My body could spar hard routinely and recover quickly.

On the heels of that, I took up grappling as part of this and my early time on the ground was no-gi, highly athletic shootfighting.

As I got older, I started sparring less, then drifted out of hard style kempo by and large. It sucked recovering. It sucked getting punched in the face. It sucked getting joint locks cranked over and over.

I stayed active in jiu jitsu but my pace slowed there as well. Focusing on the artistic and technical movement more than the activity of the scramble. So I saw a move from a hard style to grappling. Then a change in the way I grappled.

It's common and part of your evolution. You should always be asking yourself "what do I want my martial arts to do" This answer, which may change over time, will guide you on what art you should be training and how you should be training it.
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1717

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps one solution to this question can be found by observing older martial arts practitioners who have continuously trained for decades and are still very active. Changing style or martial art is not necessary if not desired. What older practitioners learn to do eventually with years of experience is to change and adapt the way they train so that they can continue to do it. That is how, for example, a 70 year old karate expert is still able train as hard as before and still more than a match for a younger person.

The younger person may be physically stronger and faster reflexes and every advantage of age, but the older expert has had the time and experience to adapt and compensate for the natural physical degradations.
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OneKickWonder
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 17 Feb 2018
Posts: 513

Styles: Tang soo do

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spartacus Maximus wrote:
Perhaps one solution to this question can be found by observing older martial arts practitioners who have continuously trained for decades and are still very active. Changing style or martial art is not necessary if not desired. What older practitioners learn to do eventually with years of experience is to change and adapt the way they train so that they can continue to do it. That is how, for example, a 70 year old karate expert is still able train as hard as before and still more than a match for a younger person.

The younger person may be physically stronger and faster reflexes and every advantage of age, but the older expert has had the time and experience to adapt and compensate for the natural physical degradations.


But what about the older person that hasn't trained for decades?

It's a common thing to see on posters advertising martial arts clubs to specify an age range. Often that age range will be something like from 5 years to 105 years. Presumably nobody has ever tested the upper age limit. Or 'any age or ability' or such. Are such statements really valid? I keep an open mind, but if a 90 year old doddered into our hall on a walking frame, could they really become proficient in a very kick oriented style like TSD? I can't see it myself. Yet if that 90 year old can still move a bit without the walking aid, then they might make some progress with something like aikido. They may not do all the falls and rolls but they might do fine with the wrist locks and such.
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