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, May 31, 2016

Cognitive Functioning

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

It has apparently been found that remaining busy in your life is a solid way to keep your cognitive functions healthy. I quote, "We show that people who report greater levels of daily busyness tend to have better cognition, especially with regard to memory for recently learned information," said Sara Festini, a postdoctoral researcher from the University of Texas at Dallas and lead author of the study.

Now, as I have been told by recent, proverbial martial artists, trying to connect such things to karate and martial arts is a stretch don’t realize that having a direct and obvious connection does not mean that it is not relevant to those disciplines. Remember, being and remaining busy according to the study means aging karate-ka and martial artists who remain active and use both the mind and the body with such diligence a lifetime of training and practice produce means a better life in our winter years. 

Karate and Martial Arts training, practice, studies and applications all tend to hit on almost every system of human beings such as visual, tactile, emotional and mentally to name a few obvious ones. Add in the more spiritual, not necessarily religious but there are a lot of religious influenced sensei and students out there, perspective and you have a well-rounded and wholehearted discipline that will contribute to your cognitive fitness and longevity.

Movement: kata, drills, basics and the creative free style of the disciplines keep the parts of the brain involving the physical active and connected; the same things also result in the brains thinking toward things like visualizations along with creative functioning when going to the creative free style in the discipline; the study of the philosophical side hits on other parts of the brain and since the physical and mental all should involve a continued study and analysis leading to the creative through the synthesis of those studies the brain is being exercised thus keeping our cognitive abilities sharp and healthy. 

Since a dedicated study and practice often involves using our brains and bodies throughout the days, almost every day, means we trigger those cognitive functions of the brain stimulating and invigorating our brains functions of cognitive ability keeping them healthy, fit, and working well into our winter years. 

Unlike sports and some other disciplines where continuing into the winter years are not beneficial or the person is not able to maintain that intensity required to practice and train, karate and martial arts in all forms can be adjusted to the needs and abilities of the individual well into the winter years of our lives. It is one reason why it has been such a benefit to the Asian culture, it is about keeping interests alive and remaining mobile, you get that from karate and martial arts. 

Some will say, you get that with almost all mental-physical disciplines and I would agree and would add that depending on the individual it all depends on what stimulates them and gets them moving both physically and mentally. Karate and martial arts are one of the best from my seat in the stadium. Look at the practices of Tai Chi Chuan for health and fitness, a martial discipline for sure but often used to keep everyone regardless of age moving in a way that stimulates our bodies various systems remaining active and therefore alive, you can do the same with karate and martial arts. 

I quote: “The team examined 330 healthy men and women between the ages of 50 and 89 in the Dallas Lifespan Brain Study. The researchers used surveys to obtain information regarding the participants' daily schedules and a series of neuropsychological tests to determine cognitive performance. The results revealed that regardless of age and education, a busier lifestyle is associated with a higher degree of cognitive functioning, which includes increased processing speed of the brain, working memory, reasoning and vocabulary. Furthermore, the association is even stronger when specifically looking at episodic memory, the ability to remember specific places, events and the emotions that were felt within them.” -

In closing, even for the younger practitioners whether they train for competitors or for protective defense purposes, the cognitive training process is critical to learning and learning to apply such skills in the adrenal stress-conditions of conflict and violence so continuing that into the winter years seems beneficial to now and to the days when you reach those ages, right? 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Editorial - Opinionated Opinions - Lecturing - Teaching - Mentoring

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

There will be days like this and there will always be days like this but truthfully that means there will always be days like this that teach and where I learn. When I editorialize, where I provide opinionated opinions, theories, ideas, etc., where I lecture as a teacher, instructor and mentor, when I lean toward a teaching form my editorialization, opinions, lectures and lessons I am mentoring but with one caveat, a need to learn, a need to understand and a need to find out more so I can editorialize, express opinionated opinions, lecture, teach and mentor. Does that make even a bit of sense?

Editorials: an article written by or on behalf of an editor that gives an opinion on a topical issue. A part of a newspaper or magazine that are not advertising. The question is in our modern tech world, are blogs and other venues of electronic publication qualified to present editorials on issues, topics or in my case disciplines such as karate, martial systems and self-defense? Or are editorials a purview of only newspapers, news television, or magazine publications? There are political editorials, there are business editorials and there are debate type editorials but what are they really? Are editorials actually just opinions form authors/writers who have some expertise on the subject of editorials because I do have some expertise on the subjects I write about in my blogs? An editorial, in general, is an opinion piece written by that often expresses an opinion of a publisher and yet it can be any other written document that reflects an opinion of a periodical but can it also reflect the opinion of an author who writes on a subject they have extensive knowledge of? My blogs are of a single topic and theme with text expressed as my opinion and is often in a lecture format, is that an editorial piece?

Opinionated Opinions: first, an opinion is a view or judgement formed about something, like karate and martial arts and self-defense and philosophies of the three, etc., not necessarily based on fact or knowledge (my opinions and editorial articles tend to come from facts researched and knowledge gained from studies, practices and experiences). As to opinionated, that is a view of a person or material presented perceived as conceitedly assertive and dogmatic in one’s opinions. My question is who gets to decide what is opinionated and what is not for an opinion may be perceived as derived from that persons perception of their inner world and beliefs and may not actually be a correct perception of that opinions. There can be and seems to be a very fine line between an opinion presented in an editorial article, article or blog entry  based on an individual perception of conceited assertive dogmatic opinion. Can it be a misinterpretation of an confident presentation vs. an actually opinionated piece and how do you tell the difference? Opinion to opinionated seems to be defined by terms such as dogmatic, fixed views, dictatorial, pompous, self-important and arrogance but how can that be detected in a written piece without knowledge of the author/writer, a perception through sensory data input like body language, voice inflection or attitude? The written word is only a very small part of that communications leading a belief that when one feels a persons written word without a knowledge and understanding of the authors personality, etc., is a judgement as to the persons own personality in expressing and receiving opinions. If the author of an opinion piece, an editorial or lecture type written article, how do you determine if it is truly opinionated as to conceit and dogmatic especially if that person is presented with refuted information and/or opinions that stimulate change in the authors view, opinion and understanding and does one determine opinionated views of the author before or after making such determinations, I wonder? 

Lecturing: is a delivery of an educational lecture to a class or other audience that would include readers of a blog, of a Facebook entry, of a twitter submission or a forum site, etc. It is often used to present materials in a educational arena such as an institution of higher learning, a University lecture. Lecturing, dependent on the perceptions of an internal nature of the recipient, might be also a view of a serious talk or of reprovingly nature to someone but that too is about the recipient rather than sender although one would hope the sender or lecturer would do so after a connection is made such as an empathy connection, etc. It is a difference of a scolding, chiding, admonish like deliver that in all honestly cannot be conveyed or determined by just the written word especially understanding just how difficult it is to convey such views without first knowing the person more intimately and being in physical presence while lecturing to perceive their body language, etc., as the necessary additional sensory data output needed to make such a determination. 

Teaching: is an informal method of lecturing and discussing or a series of lecture on a subject of public interest or of personal interest to say, students in a lecture hall or participants of a tech social connection forum like a blog, a wiki or a FaceBook social site. Sensei teach and to teach such a complex and difficult subject of a skill based knowledge of karate, martial disciplines and especially self-defense you have to participate in prolonged periods of “Lectures,” speeches, and editorialized written materials, etc. conducted often without interruption by members of an organization like school faculty or invited guest speakers at other education institutions or when used as a technique in  a social protest, etc.

Mentoring: is about one who comes before or one who has a knowledge of a subject and/or skill who advises or trains someone in that subject, skill and/or discipline. A mentor promotes, advocates and is a resource for mentoring but is not all knowing of the subject or skill but rather a knowledgable person who has a good understanding of the discipline, skill and knowledge, etc.

In my blogs, in my writings and in my books I am a person lecturing and teaching on a subject and skill that is about karate, martial disciplines, self-defense and a philosophy on all of that so I mentor and I teach and I lecture and I am of a certain opinion but I am open to change when properly presented and later validated by my own efforts in research, etc.

Isn’t that they way it is? Does it mean that it is opinionated and does it mean that the lecturing is negative or is it just the excuse some give to justify remaining steadfast, dogmatic, in their status quo belief system? 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Regarding Age and Self-Defense

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

First and foremost Rory Miller is a professional and knows about this stuff so I tend to listen to what he says, or in this case writes. This quote is taken out of its intended context of the article. I am taking this out to write about the aging karate-ka and martial artists concerned about self-defense. The quote, “You don't have a choice about your size and old age comes to everyone lucky enough to survive. But at almost any age you can still move like an athlete.” - Rory Miller, Chiron Blog Article, ‘Logic of Violence Steps 1-3 of 6’

First the age, I can’t help but agree wholeheartedly that an aging person who presents a hard target by the way they move and the attitudinal aura they project and fend of the aggressor, mostly, long into the winter years (age 60+). I also will say emphatically that even a person of smaller stature, I am 6’ 1” and about 195 pounds, because I see people like my brother, who is about 5’ 4” or maybe a bit taller, who exudes a sense of confidence and athleticism he is a person people find kind of intimidating (for lack of a better term), that says you might want to consider others before taking-him-on. 

One reason I find the practice of karate, chi-gong and tai-chi not only healthful but it maintains that aura of fitness and athleticism that projects a certain message to those who may be searching out a target. Oh, and my brother is in his fifties so his age is getting closer to those winter years and yet I suspect, since I know him well, that his aura will dominate way into the later winter years. 

The idea is to achieve the ability to maintain and project that athleticism, confidence and ability even if you have certain physical ailments that might cause you to limp, stagger a bit or move with less finesse by the ability to mask them when out in public. It can be done, like the old maestro who conducts the philharmonic orchestra who can barley walk to the stage entrance but suddenly puffs up, stands straight and them marches with confidence and without a hint of feebleness to the stand and begins to conduct the orchestra. It can be done!

Bibliography (Click the link)