Mature Aged Martial Arts – how to extend your training
My name is Ray Close and I have trained at Billy Manne Martial Arts Frankston for many years (12 years). I am a second degree Kick Boxer and have enjoyed my martial arts journey which began at the age of 11. Since that time I trained informally at kungfu in the early years, I then became a black belt in Taekwondo, trained boxing at the Australian academy of Boxing and finally found kickboxing. I have struggled with injuries at various times throughout my training but so far I have always managed to work around them to some capacity.
I spar younger fighters, train just as hard as all of the Kickboxers at Billy’s and I believe that the reason I can is primarily due to my mindset. I hope this article inspires some more mature martial artists to get back into training and discover how to cope with the strain that martial arts can place on the body. These are the things that I find help me still keep very active and strong.
- Train regularly – but not always as intense. As you age – your body loses its ability to maintain fitness – so we need to train more, not less. The training sessions should not be as intensive – ie if you really don’t feel good about doing a certain routine or exercise – don’t do it this time. Sometimes your body will let you know that what you are doing is not what it prefers. This does not mean go easy on yourself – what it does mean is if something is hurting – there could be a physical reason why. So find a way of minimizing the discomfort while still doing the moves. Its so much better to attend a training session and perhaps skip one routine rather than miss a training session all together.
- Drop weight and increase your power to weight ratio. If every you needed an excuse to drop weight, martial arts is a very good reason. To put it into perspective, if you are 10 kg heavier than your preferred weight, then running a kilometer will place 10 ton of extra load onto your joints for every 1000 steps. Being lighter means you will injure yourself less – its better for your heart and internal organs. Try to find a diet (or way of eating) that involves unprocessed foods. You need strength, cardio and flexibility and loosing weight will help with all three objectives. Everyone is different so you have to find what works for you. Simone Manne runs a weight loss and meal program which can help you in this area. She is a university qualified nutritionist and she holds a Master’s Degree in Nutrition.
- Stretch more. Stretching helps reduce injury and also provides a greater range of motion. Set up a stretching routine and practice every day.
- Use weights to enhance joint strength. Even if its just once a week, use weights to enhance the strength of the muscle and tendons. Additionally weight training is so very important to stop the ageing process. BMMA has a fantastic array of gym equipment – to hit your muscles from any angle you desire.
- Mix in some cardio exercise. Whether it be bike riding, slow jogging or walking – perhaps even working up to 15 rounds of the bag – whatever – find some cardio that works for you and apply it at least two times per week.
- Respect your injuries. If you are injured, respect the injury or the injury will NOT respect you. If possible find a way to work around it so it can heal while you can still train to some capacity.
- Test yourself occasionally. I do not spar super hard as often now but sometimes if the opponent is up for it – its on. It lets me know how I respond under fight pressure and what I have to improve on or change. Its a great barometer of overall conditioning.
So in conclusion I want to state – you can do martial arts to some capacity at any age if you work at it using a balanced methodical method. Its all about frequency and its the small things that matter – ie frequent training, daily stretching, good sensible nutrition, and training as much as possible at the gym with others. These little things all add up and will keep your body in a capable status. Remember as you age – you can be perceived more easily as a victim. One thing is certain – if you do martial arts your chances of being the victor – and not the victim significantly increases.