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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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

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