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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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)

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