Aging Martial Artists

When older martial arts are practice many tend to think, Tai Chi Chuan. Where older practitoners are seen in parks, etc. making slow movements that are graceful, rhythmic and peaceful. Aging martial artists have to deal with those aging issues just like people who are not martial artist but one of the great things about martial arts is that one can practice the arts regardless of their age.

Tai Chi Chuan is a wonderful and beneficial system for any age but is especially beneficial, in my view, to those who have reached the, “Winter Years” of life. It is a wonderful time of life, the age beyond the first sixty years. The changes nature inflicts on us can be mitigated by certain mental and physical efforts and this blog is about how the effort of martial arts practice can and does mitigate and alleviate the aging processes.

So, this blog will be about that aging process and how the practice of martial arts can help. The first article that will follow will simply list those aging issues that directly relate to the practice of martial arts such as balance as it relates to falling. As with any effort such as this it warrants the readers effort in understanding that this effort is from a non-professional view and with that stated I encourage each reader review the caveat provided here and at the start of each article. I also encourage each and every person who is taking up this practice to make sure it meets approval by your personal medical professional. Get that before you try to participate in martial arts or any program that would benefit you as you age.

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Bibliography (Click the link)

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Aging MA Blog - Introduction

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

We age and how we age will effect our lives regardless of fighting ability, defense capabilities and about conflict and violence, etc. Aging martial artists have to deal with all the ramifications that aging has as we approach, enter and reach higher years in what the Asians sometime refer to as one’s, “Winter Years.”

The sole purpose is to address certain things an aging martial artists may need to handle as age takes over and how the practice of martial arts may provide a means to avoid, overcome or mitigate ramifications such as injuries and other changes our bodies and minds endure as the years pass. 

When I think of aging I have to consider those mental and physical changes that could cause bodily harm and limitations on living a comfortable life. Some of the issues that will be addressed:

Vision and Hearing Loss

We must see in all directions and all sides; we must listen in all directions, i.e., from the Ken-po goku-i it says, A person's heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while the blood circulating is similar to the Sun and Moon yet the manner of drinking and spitting is either soft or hard while a person's unbalance is the same as a weight and the body should be able to change direction at any time as the time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself and both the eyes must see all sides as the ears must listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction.”

Two of the most used sense in martial arts are the eyes and the ears. As we age those senses may diminish but maintaining both good sight and hearing can be achieved in training and practice. The various fundamental principles effect the senses so that they are used to their most efficient maximum thus achieving healthy and good sight and hearing.

Visual changes among aging adults include problems with reading speed, seeing in dim light, reading small print, and locating objects. When I consider what is used in martial arts and defense I can determine that seeing in dim light and locating objects may be enhanced by the type of awareness we use and practice toward use of things like our peripheral vision and identifying triggers that we need to detect the signs of conflict and violence. 

Hearing impairment among older adults is often moderate or mild, yet it is widespread; 48 percent of men and 37 percent of women over age 75 experience hearing difficulties. I tend to look at hearing as my early warning system, initially because like all things concerning martial prowess toward combating violence, where along with awareness sounds can signal something amiss triggering a higher level of awareness until observation, seeing both direct and peripherally, provides you the appropriate data to make a decision - one way or the other. 

Both sight and hearing are often taken for granted until the time comes loss in either or both causes the kind of obstacles that could result in bad things where bad things for older folks means falling and succumbing to the effects of gravity. 

Taking up martial arts will train you to practice using principles where said principles are the foundation for movement, balance, structure and more. It is a good solid understanding and application of principles that provide the stability one needs not only for applying defense in martial arts but as we age it instills early on the encoding of the brain and mind those principles that will make it easier to age without falling into those debilitating changes that often make life in the winter years depressingly challenging. 

The more you can make principles a matter of instinct with an awareness in applying it while training and while simply living life in the winter years so that you can continue that type of living in comfort, security, safety and serenity. Remember, training the body trains the mind; training the mind trains the body - good thing now and in those winter years.

Future discussions on MA and:

  • Balance
  • Structure
  • Bones (bones tend to shrink in size and density — which weakens them and makes them more susceptible to fracture.)
  • Muscles (Muscles generally lose strength and flexibility, and you might become less coordinated or have trouble balancing.)
  • Memory and Emotional Well-being
  • Lungs
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Timing (The amount of time it takes to respond to features in the environment once they are detected is typically slower among older adults.)
  • Distancing (The changes in depth perceptions, etc., that can exacerbate the adrenal stress conditions on perception of distances, etc.)
  • Cognitive changes, which are associated with mental processes such as sensation and perception, memory, intelligence, language, thought, and problem-solving, occur among aging adults; take older adults longer to input and retrieve new information.
  • Focus (difficulty focusing on objects that are close up. You might become more sensitive to glare and have trouble adapting to different levels of light. Aging also can affect your eye's lens, causing clouded vision (cataracts).)
  • Reflexes
  • OODA Loop
and more as this blog grows and learns and experiences the process of aging in martial arts.

Bibliography (Click the link)

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