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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1888

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2023 7:48 pm    Post subject: Training and age-issues Reply with quote

For those of this forum who started training in martial arts in their youth or even in your childhood, how have you adapted or tailored your personal practise/training to your age? It would make sense to assume that once a practitioner reaches their 30ís or 40ís, it requires some sort of change as a 40 year old must train differently than someone in their 20ís, even if the person has been training since their childhood or teens.

There are things to take into account such as recovery time and other important fact that affect the body as someone continues to train past their physical peak.Certainly there are exercises and methods that must change with the personís age. How else did/do the old timers keep it up after decades?

it would be interesting to know what others experiences are like.If you have been training since your teens or 20ís, what if anything have you tweaked in your training to keep it up into your 30ís, 40ís or beyond? It is highly doubtful that, my Okinawan instructor in his mid 70ís, trains exactly the same way as he did when he was I his 20ís or 30ís.

The reason for my inquiry is that I have been trying to get back into regular training solo, after being out-of-condition due to a nearly two year illness which left me nearly unable to do any kind of physical effort. Essentially stuck to a bed for most of that time. Recovery is still ongoing, but from a medical point of view, there should be no problems provided the intensity is slow and gradual.
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KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 30001
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR

PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2023 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing that I have done is reduced the number of classes I go to in a week. My knees just take a beating every time I got to a traditional class, doing basics. I've also pulled back on my output during basics. Don't read that the wrong way; I'm not lazy; I keep the form good and tight, and I put forth good effort; I still get tired and sweaty. However, I don't blast everything like I used to. I guess I would say that I do a better job of pacing myself than I used to.

When it comes to sparring, I'm not sure how to explain what I do differently. I've never been very athletic or explosive, so I'd say I was a below average sparrer when I was younger. But, now it seems different. I don't try to outwork anyone when I'm sparring. I pace myself, and don't throw a lot of techniques just to throw them out there and keep someone busy. I would just describe it as "old man sparring." I use a little bit of footwork, and I don't chase people down a lot. If they want to hang back, I'll let them, and wait for that moment when they come close or leave an opening (or I'll bait one open), and then I'll unload. If some youngster that likes to be offensive, bounce around, and throw lots of stuff, I'll do a lot of blocking and when they get in close, I punch a lot, and I don't care if they punch me back. And for a short heavy guy, I can surprise them with some speed and kicks higher than they might think I can throw. But as an older fellow, I just have to wait them out sometimes.

I heard a saying not too long ago that really rang true to me: "some days, you're chicken salad, and most days, your chicken poop." Those chicken salad days don't come around as much as they used to, so I appreciate them a lot more when they do.
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Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 03 Dec 2021
Posts: 722
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Styles: Shotokan, Judo, BJJ

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2023 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah i would agree that the main difference for me is training volume. It is something i have had to mentally adjust to also as you do keep saying "..but i used to do XX" and it takes a while to make the adjustment mentally.

When younger i used to train twice a day most days, combination of martial arts, weight lifting and conditioning sessions. Managed it fine, didn't get hurt etc. Now i know that would break me!

I found the best way to do it is accept the reality that life (kids etc.) will interfere and plan classes etc accordingly. I track my class attendance and set personal targets etc but i try to factor this in - eg instead of saying i will go to class X 2 times per wk i make it an avg of 1.5 etc.

Setting some targets / goals that you can meet help too i find.

Sounds like you are being sensible though - not just running into things gung ho and wondering why you get hurt / injured.

Best of luck for starting back!
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KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 16246
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2023 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm 65 years old. I started when I was7 years old.

My training has always been my everything on and off the floor. At 65, I'm no longer that whippersnapper that I use to be of both my youth and my slowly aging of my adulthood.

My fight with cancer has taken its toll on my body, especially with my lower spine. My transitions have suffered the most. Support groups support their belief that the term "Cancer Survivor" does not mean that ones free of cancer. No. Instead, that a "Cancer Survivor" is one that is still alive and fighting the good fight. As of now, I can't stand long or walk far. With PT, I'll get stronger, but only in time with God.

I still train hard!! However, to be honest, I'm quite aware of my limitations on and off the floor. I don't like it at all, but I respect to the fact of what I use to be able to do, I can't do at all or as well as I use to.

Changes in regard to my training had to be made. First, I had to accept my limitations!! Without that, there's no fruitful training at all. While my full translation wasn't there, I still have semi-translation. Therefore, I had to change to utilization of my set-ups with my feet. In short, instead of being 85% hands and 15% feet, as Shindokan methodology dictates, I'm now more 95% hands and 5% feet.

Once I get my hands on my opponent/attacker, I use their body to help me transition more completely. Getting behind our attacker is paramount.

Knowing I'm aging, I don't try to do things like when I was younger or when I was in my 40s and 50s. Pushing myself is ideal but without foolish intent.

**Proof is on the floor!!!
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KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 08 Nov 2016
Posts: 458
Location: Denver, CO
Styles: Shuri-Ryu, Uechi-Ryu

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2023 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I first started training in the martial arts at 17. I trained off and on until I was about 25, and then I ended up moving and got involved with other things in my life. I got back involved when my son was about 4 years old and he started up in TKD. I quickly found that even though my brain thinks I should be able to do something, the body is no longer capable of it, both from being out of shape, and due to joint issues.

So nowadays there are things that I just don't do. With the arthritis in my knees I limit how often I let myself get taken down to the mat. When a kneeling bow is called for, I generally substitute with a standing bow. Also in our style, sparring is optional for test candidates 50 and over. If you choose not to spar, you'll get the minimum passing score, but honestly I'm okay with that. The chances of getting injured in sparring are too high, and I don't heal as quickly as I once did.
My Journey (So Far)
Shuri-Ryu 1996-1997 - Gokyu
Judo 1996-1997 - Yonkyu
Uechi-Ryu 2018-Present - Nidan
ABS Bladesmith 2021-Present - Apprentice
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Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 07 Aug 2017
Posts: 166
Location: NJ
Styles: JKD, TSD, MMA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2023 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a timely thread for me, I've been thinking about how and what it means to train martial arts late into middle age. I turned 60 three months ago

I don't train regularly in a groups setting anymore- my old gang moved on or aged out, we got together a couple of times before the holidays last year, but it didn't last. I look around for new places to train, but mostly it's kiddie TKD or MMA (and I'm done with rolling, ground & pound).

I do solo training and keep fit other ways (running, cycling, walking). Sometimes I ask myself, am I out of shape or am I just getting too old for this? I realize I'm not going to train like I did when i was 35 or even 40. I'm trying to find that Taoist middle way.

I see various memes on FB threads of old masters (the ones that aren't fat with a bunch of stripes & patches) and I wonder, how do they train? Who do they train with?
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