In a short period of time, I will be in my mid-sixties. Age is my greatest enemy, and as anyone my age or older will tell you; the things that once were easy have become a lot more challenging.
Well, all enemies are the same, whether human, physical, or psychological. What enemies are, are negative entities in your path of success. So, how do you get rid of your enemies? My answer to that is very simple; simply confront them and defeat them. Age is no different!
One of the first things to do on the path of defeating age is not to consider it a factor at all. I came to the realization, that I was spending more time worrying about the limitations of age than I was on the ways I could overcome it. Once I got on the right road, I came up with a pretty successful framework for defeating the aging process, and adding to the time I will be able to train. Here are a few things from the Corrigan master plan:
- Work Backwards – Don’t start by comparing yourself to a 20-year-old. First, compare yourself to those your own age and see how you fit. Are you the same as them physically and mentally? If you are “younger” than them – go lower. For example, if you truly feel that at your age you are physically and mentally “younger” than someone 5 calendar years younger than you, then that is where you start. Hold yourself to your “calculated” age standards. Conversely, if you feel you are much “older” than your age – start there and work your way backward until you are physically and mentally fit as your peers.
- Take care of your body. Don’t train injured, baby the injuries. Rest.
- No Excuses – I hear older Martial Arts students say all the time (including me sometimes!) “at my age…,” “I used to be able to….,” “I'll never be able to…,” etc. These are just excuses and self-limiters. If you set the bar at 3 inches rather than 3 feet, then that is where you will stay.
- Stop trying to use “old man strength” – Listen, all this does is make you tired, and the bane of everyone’s existence. You don’t have to win all the time to maintain your respectability. Chances are, if you are “older” then all the young guys respect you, and want to treat you with respect. Enjoy the respect, and stop hurting them with your desire to beat them.
- Supplement your training – Go to the gym, walk, run, move, stretch.
- Make time – I have a physician that I go to that has said to me for the last 12 years “ Man, I gotta try that, but I just don’t have the time!” He is my doctor, but I know for sure that he will take the “dirt nap” before me. Why? Because he is fat, out of shape, stressed and overworked. I need to write him a prescription, but he’ll never get it filled.
- Variety. If you like martial arts, don’t limit what you study. I often say that I am good at boxing, okay at Jiu Jitsu, excellent at Kali, and great at Kenpo. Combined, I am satisfied. The moral of the story is that you might just be training in the aspect that you will never be GREAT in, no matter what age you are. Seek things that you can excel at as well as those that you might just be mediocre in. Besides, variety makes you train differently and with all you got.
- Train as much as possible with younger people. Enjoy their ability and learn from them. Ask them how they are dominating you. Learn ways to dominate them using your experience.
- Finally....Make martial arts a lifestyle. That DOES NOT MEAN MAKE IT YOUR ENTIRE LIFE! You have other things, like a family, a job, other hobbies, kids, grandkids, etc. Make martial arts fit in your life, and use your training to enhance everything else you do.