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)

Hey, Attention on Deck!

Hey, NOTHING here is PERSONAL, get over it - Teach Me and I will Learn!

Search This Blog

Thursday, March 24, 2016

K&MA, Meditation and Aging

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

When hearing about meditation the mind often spins off into some Asian white haired sitting Zen monk assuming a seiza posture and sitting in absolute stillness with eyes closed for extended periods of time.

Although this is, "one," way, there are actually many ways to meditate. Some might wonder why one would meditate in K&MA, sitting seiza at the start and end of a training session.

Meditation is not just a K&MA thing, it is one of those ancient practices that turns out to be beneficial no matter why it is practiced. Modern medicine had scoffed at such practices along with many of the Chinese medical methods like acupuncture only to discover, for what ever reasons, that they work. 

Their have been a lot of self-help programs over the years that advocate types of meditation along with what they call today, “Mindfulness” or “The Power of Now,” and so on that all lean toward some form of mindful meditation practices. After all, the mind and therefore the brain is full of surprises and if I am correct in my theories and assumptions the brain, the mind, hidden in that dark cave we call a skull is more like a, “Matrix,” than we humans realize. 

Even tho some may make the assumption that sitting seiza and meditating to begin and end K&MA training and practices is not beneficial to the goals some assume like sport competitions it has recently come to light that the visualizations may sport enthusiasts use is a form of meditative practices. 

Health Benefits of Meditations (Psychological and Physiologically): 
  • Promotes a calm mind and therefore calms the body.
  • Promotes reduction and counters the effects of the cortisol and adrenaline dump.
  • Promotes clarity of the human logical mind processes, especially when the dump occurs.
  • Promotes better sleep resulting in a calmer mind and body when awake.
  • Promotes focus toward visualizations that contribute to refining and builds your abilities both physical and mental.
  • Enhances mental and physical performance overall.
  • Promotes more control over deep, slow, diaphragmatic breathing and overall respiration that controls and contributes to mind clarity.
  • Promotes positive thoughts that boost the immune systems and counter/slow the stress hormones effects such as cortisol and adrenaline.
  • Promotes less anxiety and counter depression and balances out the neurochemical systems. 
  • Promotes better decisions and critical thinking with proper training, practice, knowledge and understanding, etc.
  • Promotes healthy habits and breaks you away from unhealthy habits. 
  • Promotes the ability to detach from our emotional monkey brains to allow more logical control over your actions provided one makes use of proper training, practice, knowledge and understanding, etc.
  • Promotes positive self-talk and self-analysis of both the physical and mental mind-sets/mind-states for a more productive and efficient way of life. 
  • Provides and promotes the ability to remain in a present moment mindful state allowing letting go of past and/or future thoughts for a greater ability to think, act and react in the present moment utilizing all the created, developed and improved benefits presented above, etc.
There is more benefits to meditation and you can do the research to enhance your knowledge accordingly. The above list may be obvious to those who practice K&MA, especially toward self-defense models but remember even the sport and way of life models benefit greatly and the distinctions between them being important also provides and promotes one toward a better understanding toward achieving those goals. 

Yes, sitting still and meditating properly before and after dojo training and practice, if done properly with the correct mind-set toward a correct mind-state will make huge difference when you get on the dojo floor. If you train and practice for self-defense believe me the meditative process will contribute hugely to your mind-set and mind-state abilities when you train the adrenal stress-conditioned reality base training programs. 

If you don’t use meditations in the dojo, as an individual you should try to mediate at a minimum:
  • Mediate daily for a minimum of ten minutes.
  • Mediate in comfort, i.e., sit seiza if you wish; sit in a chair, use a meditation cushion to sit on the floor; and make sure that what ever sitting posture and position that you sit while adhering to structure, posture, alignments, etc. 
  • Meditate using the proper breathing of deep, rhythmic, diaphragmatic belly three count breathing (at the start and finish) and the deep rhythmic diaphragmatic breathing without the three count in the body time meditating.
  • Focus on something like a mantra to help you learn to control the monkey chatter the normal brain does to remain mindful and in the moment or even just focusing on the breathing will help a lot.
  • As you progress, especially if dojo meditation is used, use visualization to remain mindful and in that moment. Choose something you wish to improve on or practice in during the training period; visualize on the process you practiced in the dojo and its results through self-analysis after in the closing meditation.
  • Keep all thoughts and visualizations of a positive orientation, if you go negative allow it to pass away without effort by refocusing on a positive aspect - positivity and positive thoughts release beneficial chemicals in our brain resulting in a more positive healthy life and way of life.
  • Daily meditation can be enhanced by taking a few moments to write about it and your successes in a meditation journal. You can also add in training and practice notes because the act of writing is another way to help encode memories, etc.
This is not the only all encompassing comprehensive method of meditation. As you can readily perceive and understand this process is beneficial to everyone regardless of age and yet for those of us reaching, entering and living the winter years meditation keeps the mind and body positive, active and in a beneficially correct mind-state that will counter and reduce effects of the aging process. 

As a recent article mentions this type of practice benefits the brain so it can continue to live, change and redirect neurons to overcome effects of disease, etc., to promote longevity not just for the longevity itself but a more productive, happy and healthy longevity. 

Professions such as the Police, Corrections Officers, Security and Military use such meditative and breathing methods to remain mindful of the goals and objectives of the job and to prepare the mind, mind-state and their mind-set in those moments just before entering into harms way. They also use such techniques and practices for the after of entering into, handling and recovery after experiencing being in harms way, i.e., stress reduction and relief, mind process for after action reports and the ramifications and repercussions of mental and physical effects of doing the job. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hearing of Aging K&MA’s

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

Part of awareness in self-defense comes from our senses and the primary sense often used is sight but for self-defense it is best to utilize the three primary senses of sight, sound snd touch. One of those three, sound, can become problematic to those of us practicing in our winter years (age 60+). Personally, over my years of enduring sounds that adversely effect hearing I ended up losing a good portion of mine. 

Of course the best self-defense is to be aware of environments and situations that would lead to conflict and violence and as long as you live, work and play in area’s of low threat you really don’t have to worry much but just the same you do have to compensate for loss of sounds. 

Everyone, mostly, may have to deal with losing some of our hearing as we travel the roads of out winter years. It might be time to enhance our visual scanning to detect things that may lead to dangerous situations. The crux of hearing is when it starts to go or is gone you don’t want your awareness to still assume you will hear things especially if an event may arrive from you rear. 

Then there is always hearing aids. Yet, as I wear mine daily and in practice I realize that it doesn’t take much to dislodge hearing aids sending them flying off leaving your hearing diminished to gone. 

How you combat such things is to practice for hearing loss before you have to live with hearing loss. My idea is to train for self-defense using scenario’s while you insert ear plugs to block out all or most of your hearing. You remove your dependency to hear a fast approaching person by their feet or rustling of clothing or some other sound. You will find that your awareness changes when one or more of your senses is removed. Use your imagination but remain within the realm of reality-based training. Another aspect is to try this with your teacher of adrenal stress-conditioned reality-based training drills and scenario’s. 

If you are lucky to still have all your senses in those winter years remember also that senses still diminish in smaller increments as we get older so training for their state of effectiveness seems - logical and beneficial. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Sight Sense in Aging K&MA’s

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

We all tend to rely heavily on our sight to see dangers in our environment. Please understand that other factors contribute toward encountering dangers and awareness for self-defense is a whole other subject for an article. Often we don’t realize just how much we depend on sight in our K&MA training, practice and especially applications. Those who tend to handle sight issues better are those who have a dominant sense of either touch, tactile, or sound, hearing. Otherwise, many of us are sight dominant meaning our entire lives depend primarily on our sight sense. 

Note: Sense Dominance is also a huge subject worth an article as well.

Aging means our senses will suffer to some degree and our sight can be effected by our age a lot more. If you wear glasses now just imagine if you lose them, break them or forget them then consider how that will affect our defense-awareness state (assuming you are required to go places where dangers are higher than normal). 

Here again, consider practicing with a sight handicap and then focus on how you can use hearing and touch to remain safe and secure. Of course, avoidance of situations that would lead to violence or avoidance of environments that have a greater level of conflict and violence would be your primary goal but for those rare instances when you are exposed how would you handle things if your sight were restricted or diminished with hearing and touch?

Try wearing glasses with strong lenses especially if you don’t currently need glasses. Use those readers to blur out your vision a bit. Take notice also that if your vision is diminished your peripheral may be even worse. Also train by putting on blinders to restrict your peripheral vision because it is safe to say that as we age both direct and peripheral vision may/will suffer. Training to use other senses to remain safe seems smart to me. 

We as aging K&MA’s just because we are old/older can become targets. I mean, some predatory types will see an older person as a possible easy victim simply because older folks are targets/victims. Granted, you may have experiences, training and other abilities that put your presence in a state  of personal aura that will deter many predators but what about that one who decides your age alone makes you an easy target. Then consider if your vision is faulty or limited how do you compensate to remain not a victim/target. 

We tend to ignore the fact that all of us are going to get older and we tend to bury our heads in the sands thinking because we train, practice and apply our skills that we don’t have to give time or effort to the aging requirements of K&MA but guess what, human bodies will succumb to the effects of aging, maybe not at sixty, maybe not even at seventy but sooner and especially as to later, you will have to deal with aging. 

One of the greatest benefits of being a K&MA is it is easily adjusted so that regardless of our ages we can practice and train and learn and change with its disciplines so why not adjust to keep it all going to the very last moment of our lives. 

Use your imagination to restrict and change your sight then do the reality-based self-defense training and while you get good at that then see if your adrenal stress-conditioned reality-based self-defense training teacher will try it out. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

K&MA Aging Brain

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

Note: Throughout this and future articles K&MA refers to, “Karate & Martial Arts.” I don’t consider karate a martial art and most martial arts don’t relate to karate except in very simplistic connections. I feel that this distinction is important. 

There is something strange and unique about the brain. Not what we normally consider but “certain mechanisms that underlie memory: their purpose is not simply to record what has gone before but to allow us to project forward into the future. To imagine tomorrow’s experiences to situations, via the hippocampus, in particular, plays a key role in assembling an imagined future by recombining information from the past.”

This is about our cognitive decline and the possible “diseases as common causes of dementia: Alzheimer’s, stroke and Parkinson’s. It is very interesting to note that in recent research it was found: having brain tissue that is riddled with the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease didn’t necessarily mean a person would experience cognitive problems. Some peopler were dying with a full-blown Alzheimer’s pathology without having cognitive loss.”

Keeping active in brain oriented activities would contribute to this ability to bypass the cognitive declines often associated with such diseases, i.e., activities that provide for a “cognitive exercise - that is, activity that keeps the brain active, like crosswords, reading, driving, learning new skills, and having responsibilities - is protective.” Reading and studying such historical and factual materials on our system of K&MA along with the physical and mental challenges such practices, if done properly and correctly, along with writing articles and books as well as teaching others with increased subject matter changes and new data, etc. all contribute to that type of cognitive exercise. 

It was also found that “social activities, social networks and interactions, and physical activities also contributes hugely to that cognitive exercise.” It is becoming clearer and clearer that dojo participation is a social activity and the dojo collective along with associations and organizations that connect dojo collectives around the world all are about that connectivity and exchange that stimulates our brains and exposes the brain to cognitive stimuli and exercises. Because K&MA are very “Physical” that also contributes toward counteracting the effects of such cognitive diseases and their effects. It appears, on the surface, that our endeavors in K&MA regardless of the distinctions as to the why, i.e., sport or self-defense or philosophical, etc. or any combination means mental cognitive exercises. Add in self-defense reality based adrenal stress-conditioned training and practice models and the challenge to our minds, our brains, increases a lot. All good for our aging brains and minds.

Since these diseases and their effects are a major obstacle to aging with grace and serenity it makes such efforts on our training, practice and applications take on a whole new and greatly beneficial health, fitness and well-being light to why we do what we do. I actually have come to believe that K&MA are awesome contributors to the Okinawan’s longevity. 

Personally, as an aside to this view, I have benefited hugely in my health, well-being and fitness toward longevity simply by keeping my body, mind and spirit active in my K&MA training, practice, studies, understanding, teaching, writing and applications. Ain’t life grand? 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Eagleman, David. “The Brain: The Story of You.” Pantheon Books. New York. 2015

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

FaceBook Disabled

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

I just disabled my FB account and feel sad and sorry the step doesn’t actually remove all the data especially the data’s connectivity and residence in other forms of data-collections, etc. It is too bad our Internet systems are collection grounds for both data-brokerage as well as cyber-criminal use and abuse. It is a shame that activities of the average individual cannot be protected as well as that of cyber-criminals, cyber-terrorists and terrorism, criminal activities and so on. 

Those who followed me on FaceBook (friended and followed) will have to remember to seek out my articles on the blogs. I don’t for one instance assume that blogs are any safer but taking the action to NOT allow CONNECTIONS to other media sources like FB and Twitter as examples means I can continue with caution writing my articles. Like my recommendations in this blog, it may not remove the danger but it might just reduce the probability making my victimization less definite. 

I know that what I put out there via social media is not actually all that personal, I have managed to keep the more personal sides at a very minimum, i.e., in all probability anything out there actually of a personal nature was accidental but who really knows. Regardless, in the last day or so I came to experience something I felt was less likely, my Apple iMac actually froze up, locked completely as if a Windows machine and that made me anxious. I gravitate toward a feeling that if I had not participated in such social media the probability might not have existed let along exposed me to such events. 

In a nutshell, I don’t do twitter or other socially driven media and I did FaceBook only as a means to express theories, ideas, and information on my favorite life subject of karate and martial arts and self-defense but still, it was publishing a comment on that media that led to the freeze and hard boot of an Apple system, something I thought might not happen for a longer span of time. It is and was inevitable but still ….

So, no more Facebook and a more restricted participation in such things until someone somewhere is able to create a safety net like they use, called Tor, in the dark underworld residing below our Internet. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Goodman, Marc. “Future Crimes: Everything is Connected, Everyone is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It.” Doubleday. New York. 24 February 2015.