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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Friday, January 20, 2017

Falling Seniors

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

Listen, as martial artists many of us learn some basic falls simply because in an attack we will in all probability end up on the ground either by the attacker taking us down or as a secondary to the attack, we fall down. Falling can be that one thing that ends up with us receiving grave bodily harm and in a lot of cases falling ends up how one dies in an attack or fight. That ain’t cool.

Now, as a karate-ka, I was taught the striking arts and falling except in rare partner-drills was never taught as to how a recipient of a take down should actually fall. Since it was on mats, most of the time even falling wrong we didn’t get hurt or the hurt was minor. If you are taken down or fall in the street those mats are not there and the ground is pretty darn hard and gravity is a mean mother when your overall mass loses stability and balance. If the attacker is controlling the fall you have to deal with his exacerbating and enhancing gravity to your detriment but if they all you a free-fall then gravity, your overall mass/weight and the make up of that ground from relatively soft grass or sand to that hard as cement curb matter - a lot.

(Not an exact quote): UKEMI is the art of falling without getting hurt. It is a critical skill. Learn break-falls and a side note is if you condition it into primal response then as you age and if you fall then, you will better survive the fall by falling right. Most, even karate-ka (a strike system) will have to deal with falling or being taken down or being thrown. Think rolling falls, dive rolls and flat/break falls. 

Now, in recent times many of those same striking arts, karate in particular, are finding out just how valuable UKEMI is and have or are incorporating that into their teaching programs. I have a goal here to relate how that falling without getting hurt into our aging process because you have to allow yourself to know, understand and accept the fact of nature that when we age our abilities and stabilities suffer the aging process, i.e., we can and do fall from time to time especially in advanced ages. Sorry folks, but true regardless so my intent here is if you have not trained to fall then you need to take it up if for no other reason then when, not if but when, you fall you trigger a conditioned response and you fall correctly.

It is easy, if you have a local judo or jujitsu dojo take time and join up as I am sure the Sensei will have a more senior class where you can take the full monty or you can request to learn how to fall without injury. Hopefully you do this long before you age to a point where that becomes difficult or medically prohibitive. Even if not recommended medically if you have already conditioned your primal response system you will still benefit from it if you fall. 

As the author of the book on drills, Mr. Rory Miller, states, it is a critical skill for fighting and self-fense but I add in that it is even more critical to you as you age because there is going to come a time that you will fall. It may be you don’t lift one foot high enough and catch it on a rug or curb but when it does, you fall correctly and you will find that the most you suffer is bruising, bumps and maybe sprains - all survivable and easily recover from. 

For you younger guys in systems or styles for self-fense who have not been formally instructed in how to fall properly, ask your sensei or seek out judo or jujitsu to supplement your efforts so when an attack ends up with gravity taking you for a quick, hard and dangerous ride to the ground you can break that fall safely and move to a proper fense position, etc. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

1 comment:

  1. I spent a lot of time; a LOT of time, learning how to fall in aikido when I was a young man. I can't tell you how many times knowing how to fall has come in handy: icy sidewalks (at least once a year), off the tops of ladders, makeshift step ladders; you name it.

    I have never taken an injury from a fall (and I hope that I haven't jinxed it).