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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Monday, February 8, 2016

Cognitive Skills and Aging

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

See the link at the end to read the entire article. What I want to express is the consistent message that we, as in self, have control over how aging effects us physically and mentally. There is a constant that transcends any one discipline but the principles this article mentions really can be achieved regardless of what we use to reach that goal. 

Lets begin with “Memory,” i.e., remote memory or recall of past events tends to remain regardless of age. I theorize that this includes procedural memory, the memory that we most often use to take actions such as in self-defense, i.e., the type of memory trained in to come from what many term as instinctive actions. As long as all other factors are taken into consideration this one should be available even in aging. 

Next is our attention: Our focus or simple attention also tends to remain. One aspect to consider is what they term as “Divided attention” that tends to suffer as we age. Trying to focus on one thing and simultaneously talk to someone or on the phone - tends to be more difficult in aging processes. Our attentive abilities toward the various forms of awareness can keep this issue from becoming too problematic, i.e., keeping up the practice through training as is often done in karate and martial arts for defense. 

Ok, what about reasoning and problem solving? Those more “Traditional approaches” to solving problems are maintained as we age. New issues and problems simply take a bit longer than you might be used to experiencing tend to crop up in our winter years. Another reason why our appropriate and effective training and practice of karate and martial arts in principles such as those developing and conditioning our minds, our bodies and therefore our spirits tend to excel in combating the aging process.

There are other health issues and factors that would exacerbate the aging process and its effects. The recommendations toward combating those are:

Reduce Stress
Maintain Good Health
Mentally Stimulate Yourself Regularly
Use memory cues and methods to facilitate memory and use routines

Stress is a bad thing - but it is also a good thing too. Yin-yang concepts from the principle of theory and philosophy found in karate and martial arts fundamental principles foster cognitive maintenance for keeping our skills effective and efficient even into our winter years. The combination of physical and mental activities found promote good heath, i.e., what is best is that this type of activity is adjusted as we age so it can be practiced even in the higher age ranges. 

The fun one can find in practice and training makes learning easier and that also provides the aged a means to remain motivated even when the aging process throws is those curve balls such as my recent bout with vertigo. My karate and martial arts resulted in faster healing and promoted a more “Stable (pun intended)” ability to train, etc.

Karate and martial arts are all about using methods to encode both conscious and procedural/unconscious memory activity. It brings together a physical, mental and tactile like teaching and practice model best suited to trigger and stimulate those very cognitive skills necessary for a better aging process. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

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