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)

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