*On September 13-15, 5 PMA students tested for and earned their Black Belts in FILKENJUTSU Kenpo. Follow along over the next few weeks, as we share some blog posts that were written by PMA’s newest Black Belts during their preparation for Black Belt. First up is Iain Willborn. Iain is our academy’s first person to begin training as a child (Iain started at 11), earn their Junior Black Belt, and then take the 3-day test to earn their full Black Belt upon turning 18. Hopefully the first of many! Enjoy!
One may observe the phrase “martial arts is a way of life” and think “No, martial arts is nothing more than a hobby, through and through,” and to be honest, when I was younger, I would have fallen into the group of doubters.
I was one of the people that do not see martial arts for anything more than basic self-defense and exercise. But when you look deeper, martial arts, in my case, FILKENJUTSU, has a plethora of knowledge and lessons hiding just under the surface. Respect for authority is just one. The humbling experience you receive on a class to class basis through the teachers and the curriculum is another. As you are told often, “a martial artist’s journey is never done,” and indeed there is always more to learn, whether physically or mentally. The self-control, the ability to be a gracious winner and an even better loser, and then the true feeling of comradery between one another are just snippets of what martial arts, especially taught through PMA, have opened my mind to over the years.
I never wanted to train in martial arts in the first place. I was lovingly forced into it by my parents, who hoped it would not only give me some well-needed exercise, but also aid in my anger management issues. And I thank God that they did because it’s been one of the primary means that He has used in my life to this day.
As a lazy, angry child, I saw absolutely nothing good about PMA, other than it was something cool to tell friends about. But looking back at that little boy now, I can see that PMA is exactly what I needed, and exactly what God wanted for me. The investment that my parents made in classes for me over the years has been priceless in my life. My journey through Progressive Martial Arts has ranged years, and I’ve had many different attitudes towards it during that period. I’ve gone from not wanting to do it, to only doing it for fun, to doing it for fitness. But all these have been leading me to where I have landed and settled over this past year, wanting to do martial arts for life, wanting to learn more, and continuing to improve my skills.
For almost the entirety of my martial arts life thus far, I have been more of a punch and kick oriented fighter. My newest passion, however, is the entirely different fight that happens on the ground, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
When I first started martial arts, I did private classes in which I learned some basic Jiu Jitsu. As I continued to train, however, I eventually started doing group classes in the juniors, then to young adults, then finally to where I am today, the adult Kempo class. In the juniors and young adults, Jiu Jitsu was taught very minimally. So, for years I was in a stagnant state concerning groundwork. I knew the basic positions, and basic movements, but I never practiced them, and I never thought of them very much honestly. But just within the little time that I’ve been training Jiu Jitsu seriously, about a month and a half, I’ve learned just how wrong my outlook was.
My mentality concerning my lack of Jiu Jitsu training through the years was as simple as “I won’t ever let someone take me down, so I don’t need to know Jiu Jitsu,” which is crazy! One must observe that I drastically overestimated one thing, and that was my skill as a fighter. Over the two years that I have been in the adult’s class, my lack of skill in controlling a fight has been demonstrated to me time and time again, and that is just in a civil sparring match! I now realize that I will never be quick enough, or smart enough to guarantee that I won’t be taken to the ground during an altercation. Like SiFu David regularly reminds us, “Action is faster than reaction”. So, moving forward now, what is my goal for Jiu Jitsu?
My goal for Jiu Jitsu, as is my goal for any aspect of a fight, is to learn how to survive. I simply seek to gain the ability to last through the fight, whether on my feet or on the ground. But another more exact point of interest for me is submissions. The art of controlling your opponent, whether to injure or to simply stop them from injuring you has fascinated me. As a person that trained for years thinking about fast, powerful, and rigid strikes to control an opponent, seeing the fluid art of chokes, key locks, and triangle chokes (just to name a few) has opened my eyes to a side of the fight game and martial arts that has been out of my reach for years. I am looking forward to learning and honing these skills moving forward in my martial arts life, and becoming a more well-rounded martial artist.
The anger that plagued my younger years is still a fault I continue to battle even now, but it is not the destructive hellfire as before. It is now in the form of constructive discontent. Instead of firing my failures, insecurities, and sadness out at the poor souls around me, or destroying myself mentally, I use it to fuel my desire to always be improving, always learning, and always helping others. My hope and dream moving forward is to be a part of the family at PMA, and to be there to support and uplift others as they are embarking on their own journeys.
I will move forward in the race that is this life to learn how to handle myself with honor and dignity, so that one day, I can master the avoidance of battle and strive for peace. The work ethic that I have learned from my parents, my church, and PMA has enriched every aspect of my life. Those three things have sculpted who I am, and who I’m striving to be. PMA is one of the building blocks that is there to support the growth of who I am, and I will continue to build on those foundations for the rest of my life.
I couldn’t be more thankful for the people that have aided me along this journey, especially in the early years, like SiFu David and SiHing Terry. They have been there to lift me up, but also correct me when I was wrong. Their commitment to me, and my fellow students, has left an unperishable imprint on who I am and how I carry myself today. I’m never going to stop pursuing my callings and aspirations, even when faced with failure and hardship.
We are nearing the end of February, and you are probably comfortably out of the holidays and back into the grind of your routines.
Your New Year’s resolutions have probably been squashed. You had tons of enthusiasm a couple of months ago but maybe now you are facing REALITY. You might think to yourself:
"Those dreams and goals I had were too lofty."
"I don’t have enough time in the day to accomplish what I want to accomplish."
You can’t make it to martial arts class, there is too much going on. You can’t get your workouts in because other stuff takes priority. You can’t meditate. You can’t spend time playing with your kids. You can’t walk your dog. You can’t meal plan, grocery shop, and prepare meals either!
I talk to students all of the time that tell me when they are on the mat training they are happy and inspired to make changes in all of the other areas of their life. They might be kneeling at the end of class during meditation, soaking up the vibes of the dojo, and thinking about how inspired they are going to be to make a change starting today.
BUT THEN, they walk out the doors of the academy back into the world and get caught up in the chaos of our culture. Before you know it, work, commitments to family and friends, iPhones, traffic, Facebook, Netflix, and so many other things start to battle for our attention again, and we might never even think about those plans we had while we were kneeling on the mat.
In fact, they tell me that often they won’t slow down and think about those things again until the next time they are in the academy. It happens with their martial arts practice too, they have full intentions of going home, making some notes on what they learned, practicing a little bit or going over the techniques in their mind, but then they walk out and never think about it again until the next class. By that time it’s too late - they’ve already forgotten the technique.
*A huge tip for this one, by the way, is to sit down inside the academy with your notebook and take some notes before you leave the dojo. Then pull out your notes before the next class and go back over them - even if it is right before class! We see students that have tons of success with this formula.
I hear you. I really do. But the reality is that you have the same amount of time in your day as every other human being on the earth. And if your day truly is too full to do the things that you said you’d do at the beginning of the year, the reality is that it’s not because you don’t have enough time, it’s because your true priorities are revealing themselves.
Your priorities are what you spend your time doing. We might say that our priorities are things like our family or our health, but if we aren’t spending our time in those areas, then they aren’t our true priorities.
So what are your priorities?
If you really want to know, keep a genuine time log for a week, but don’t change anything about what you do right now. Funny thing is, you probably won’t be able to stop yourself from changing just a little bit, because when you start realizing how much time you are spending on Facebook, or watching Netflix, you almost can’t help making some changes.
Some of the things that we are spending our time on might be out of our control, but are there any areas that are in our control? And sometimes other things are genuinely just more important.
I don't want you to quit your job and train all the time. I don't want you to skip out on playing with your kids to get a workout in.
But I do want you to just stop at the store and buy a few groceries instead of waiting in the drive thru line. I do want you to put your phone down and get a workout in.
Your health is a crucial piece to you living a long, happy, and fulfilling life. You have to make it a priority too!
The question is do we just tell ourselves that we are too busy when there is actually quite a bit of free time in there?
Try your best to just track and not change anything about what you are doing. Then add up all of the time doing the different activities and discover what your TRUE priorities are.
Now, if you want to make a change…pick one of those categories that you’d rather not be spending so much time and allot that time to doing one of the things you do want to be doing.
You have to curate your lifestyle. You have the same 24 hours as everyone else, you just have to decide how you’re going to spend them, and then do it!
“Getting in shape” is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions. It’s a great goal, but, unfortunately, it’s also one of the hardest resolutions to keep. We’re almost halfway through January, and many of the people who just knew 2018 was going to be their year to get fit, are already struggling - some may even have decided to give up already.
Gym memberships skyrocket at the beginning of each new year, but while gyms may see an initial spike in attendance, those numbers quickly decline. Why? Because getting in shape is hard.
We all know why physical fitness is essential. We grew up hearing about the benefits of exercise in elementary Physical Education and learned about body fat from unforgiving middle school bullies and learned about muscles and ligaments in high school health and physiology classes. As adults, we get to hear about the endless benefits of eating green, leafy vegetables and taking brisk, daily walks from our concerned mothers or spouses or doctors. No one here is arguing that exercise and a well-balanced diet are bad things - everyone knows they are good. That’s why so many New Year’s Resolutions are some variation of a physical, mental, or nutritional improvement.
So we aren’t going to spend the next few minutes waxing on and on about why getting in shape is good for you. Instead, we are going to talk about all of the reasons it’s HARD, and look at a couple of strategies that might help you get through it.
1. Get Out of Your Own Way
From my own experiences getting back in shape after periods of inactivity, I know that the first thing I have to do is get out of my own way. For anyone that has a job or a family, taking time for yourself - even just an hour or two a week - can leave you feeling guilty and even stressed.
These feelings are totally normal but totally unnecessary. Taking time for yourself is vital for your overall well being, and as we all know from those elementary school PE classes, exercise can release stress and improve focus. Taking time for yourself can put you in the frame of mind to solve that problem you’ve been working on at your job or help you be more patient and present for your kids. How can you take care of your other responsibilities if you don’t take care of yourself?
Get out of your own way, and unabashedly take time for yourself!
2. Lose the Negative Perceptions
While you’re getting out of your own way, let go of the negative perceptions you have of yourself and the perceptions you project, accurately or inaccurately, on the people around you.
Being in shape should increase your confidence, but I’ve been merrily on my way to a healthy body and mind and found myself stuffed into workout clothes that I think make me look like a busted can of biscuits. Self-consciousness happens to the best of us, but we have to let those negative thoughts go.
Everyone thinks they look weird when they run. No one’s stomach stays perfectly flat when they’re sitting down. Most people have a smidgen of fat on their arms that they think flaps in the breeze when they wave. I have wheezing asthma that makes me honk like a goose whenever I do aerobic exercise. Everyone has insecurities, don’t let them hold you back from everything you are capable of and everything you can be.
3. Stay in Your Own Lane
And while you’re on the road to getting in shape, STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE.
In the past, I’ve fallen into the habit of comparing myself to the people training around me whom I’m sure are thinner/stronger/faster/more graceful than I’ll ever be. Focus on your own accomplishments and strengths instead of dwelling on what others can do. Spend your time challenging yourself and learning what your body is capable of instead of being envious of what you see others doing.
If you keep comparing yourself to others, you’ll never feel like you’re good enough. You might start thinking, “what’s the point?”, and give up when you’re really only just getting started. There will always be someone who is better at something than you are. You can’t be the best at everything; you can only do your best in everything. Let go of your spirit of comparing.
4. It's Uncomfortable
Let me tackle the most obvious hardship of getting in shape last: It’s uncomfortable - even painful at times. Getting in shape is no joke. Your muscles will be screaming one minute and then feel like jelly the next. Your chest will get tight because you can’t breathe and you’ll feel like your heart’s about to pop, but somehow you keep breathing (or wheezing in my case) and your heart keeps beating, and eventually you finish that first jog. The first run turns into a second run that turns into a weekly run and then a daily run and before you know it you have run farther and faster than you ever thought possible.
In the beginning stages of getting in shape, everything can feel overwhelming or difficult. It’s achieving that end goal that feels so good: fitting into that old pair of jeans, seeing your cholesterol or blood pressure go down, passing that stress test, or just having more energy to spend on your family or hobbies.
So how do we get from exhaustion to exhilaration in one piece?
Here are a few things that worked for me:
1. Don’t go it alone.
Find an accountability partner. It can be a friend, family member, or a training partner. It can be as simple as discussing your goals together or strategizing for how you can help each other get there.
My training partners started dragging me on a weekly run with them after I came back from an absence. The farthest I had run before these weekly meets was 1.5 miles - and I thought it was AWFUL. Before I knew it, I was running 3…4…5…miles with them, and the next thing I knew, we had completed a half-marathon together. It was one of the most rewarding experiences, and it will be a favorite accomplishment of mine (though I hope to never do it again…ever) forever. I would never have met my goals without their encouragement and, some days, them physically dragging me on my run to keep me accountable.
2. Find something you love to do.
I’m a martial artist, and I love it. My classes provide an excellent full body workout, and the supplemental workouts I do outside of class are to improve my skills as a martial artist (and also because I really like cake). I’ve found something that I love to do that keeps me fit and motivated. If you are looking to get in shape, discover that for yourself: dancing, running, rowing - there are endless opportunities. Fitness doesn’t have to be limited to a gym.
3. Keep Going
Finally, have the mettle to keep going. When the path to your goals gets uncomfortable, don’t give up. That goal is right in front of you if you only push through.
Remember, you’ve come too far, to only come this far. You can do it; I believe in you!
Consider some of the following information from the CDC:
The good news is that if you are prediabetic, or are overweight or obese, we know what lifestyle changes need to be made to prevent, delay, or even reverse these conditions.
The bad news is that SO DO YOU. The problem we are facing is not a lack of information. In fact, you could argue that we have way too much information. The amount of information practically freezes us. And it changes on a daily basis.
Carbs are good…no, carbs are bad.
Fat is good…no, fat is bad.
You should do more cardio…no, you should do more strength training.
This diet is the best…no, THIS diet is the best.
These conflicting statements that are thrown in our faces all the time confuse us, and freeze us in our tracks. We aren’t sure if we have the PERFECT diet or exercise plan, and so we just stay put and continue deeper and deeper into this hole.
That is until something we see on Facebook, or someone tells us about something that convinces us we have found the perfect plan. And we follow it for a little while, but that idea was such a significant overhaul of our current lifestyle that we started to slip a little.
We gave into some cravings.
We skipped a workout.
We just don’t feel like this plan is the one for us.
But Monday is coming right around the corner, so let’s try again next week!
And we make it a couple of days into the new week before inevitably slipping again. Before you know it, this cycle brings us back to where we were before the plan, and we give it up. Only to fall out of shape even worse than we were before the miracle plan tried to save us.
But it’s okay because a NEW YEAR is coming up!!!
On this magical day, January 1, everything will change. I will overhaul my life and finally be the person I want to be. Even though nothing makes this day any different than any other day, the difference is now the New Year motivates me.
Well, we all know how that works too, don’t we? Eventually motivation from the new year will be gone.
So, let’s not fool ourselves this year.
Try something a little different this year: I want you to take your time and write out 26 habits that you think are the most important for you to change your life. Just to get you started, think of some things like:
Eat slowly and enjoy your food.
Stop eating before you are stuffed.
Exercise daily, but make it something you love.
Eat a few servings of vegetables every day.
Eat REAL food.
Take 5 minutes to meditate every day.
And so on and so forth. With all of the information you have available to you, what habits would you pick? Now, lay them out in a logical sequence, where one habit builds into the next one whenever possible. What order would it make the most sense to learn all of these habits?
Now plot them on your calendar, and spend 2 weeks working on each one for the next 52 weeks (year), and tell me where you land this time next year.
Our problem is not a lack of information, it is understanding how to make change happen. One habit at a time is the way to do it!
This is the way Precision Nutrition (PN) has built their nutrition and lifestyle coaching program. We teach our students that martial arts training is a "Way of Life," and that means you should integrate things like healthy lifestyle habits, nutrition, yoga, meditation, fitness, etc. into your life. The Precision Nutrition platform has powered our ability to offer nutrition and lifestyle coaching to our students, and we couldn't be happier with it.
We can only open up a few spots in the program at a time because we just don't have enough time to coach a ton of people. We'd love for all of our adult students at Progressive Martial Arts Academy to go through this program because it lines up so beautifully with the "Martial Arts Way of Life." It is the missing link we were looking for for so many years. Unfortunately, we cannot take everyone on at the same time.
We will be accepting a small group of men and women that wish to embark on a year-long program to build the habits and skills necessary to reach and then maintain the healthiest version of themselves. This program with either myself or PMA instructor and certified PN coach, Kristie Fox, as your coach will begin Monday, January 1, 2018.
If you are interested, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot and get more information.
Changing your nutrition and lifestyle doesn't have to be complicated, boring, or ineffective. If you are sick of trying new diets and exercise programs year in and year out, this is a 1-year program that will help you slowly change your habits to live the healthy lifestyle that you want.
Through PN's ProCoach software, we will provide the nutrition and lifestyle portion of coaching online with daily habits, lessons, and assignments. We’ll get to see your progress, provide feedback on a regular basis to your assignments and progress, and answer any questions you may have along the way. This program can be done 100% online! So wherever you are in the world, don't hesitate to email me.
Space is extremely limited, so please do not wait to email - email@example.com.
I recently heard someone on a podcast I was listening to refer to what’s happening with health in this country as a “slow-moving plague.” I view this element of what we do at Progressive Martial Arts Academy as maybe one of the most important. We’ve always been able to make a large impact on people’s lives through martial arts training, and we are so excited to now be able to help with nutrition and lifestyle coaching too.
I hope you have a great 2018! Even if you don’t go through our coaching program, I hope you will take the advice above and give it a shot. Let me know how it works out. Remember, one habit at a time!
“I walk taller now.
“My posture is better.”
“I’m so much happier on the inside.”
“I’ve become a better parent.”
“I feel healthy.”
"I feel confident out in public."
“I feel confident in my food decisions.”
“I’m more organized.”
“I am stronger… inside and out.”
“I'm more focused.”
These are real things that our martial arts students tell us on a regular basis. Sometimes we get too wrapped up in the goals, outcomes, and benefits that we can easily see or measure such as pounds and inches lost, promotions, or the number of push-ups we can do.
Don't get me wrong - those measurable things are PHENOMENAL too. But we can't lose sight of all the other ways our lives are improved by martial arts training, exercise, or changes in our nutrition and lifestyle habits.
So, what are some ways your life has been impacted by the martial arts way of life?
This Saturday at our annual holiday sale from 10 AM - 1 PM, we will be offering our lowest price ever on our 1-year nutrition and lifestyle coaching program. This 100% online program is regularly priced at $1,999, and has only been discounted to our students to $999 in the past. We are going to take on 10 additional students into the program to start on Monday, January 1, 2018, and will be offering the entire year of coaching for $899. This price will be available at the holiday sale only.
If you'd like to go ahead and lock in your spot now, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make sure your spot is saved on Saturday. Then we will check you out at the sale (even if you can't make it in person!).
Learn more about the coaching program here -
Check out the event page on Facebook for more information on sale items, and RSVP to make sure you don't miss announcements as they come out this week:
Participating in physical activity is much more beneficial than a sedentary lifestyle. And as we age, it becomes even more important to incorporate some form of fitness into our daily routine. Exercise has been shown to improve your mood, combat chronic diseases, and manage your weight. Regardless of your age, sex, or physical ability, experiencing the outstanding health benefits that martial arts have to offer is a great way to improve your well-being.
Here’s a quick rundown on some of the advantages that martial arts provide in the world of fitness.
Seeped in ancient traditions, the martial arts have significant mental and spiritual elements that work toward enhancing focus and cultivating better self-control. Filtering energy and cleansing the mind from stress and tension enables martial arts practitioners to feel a sense of balance and tranquility that transcends into their daily lives. If you’re feeling the pressure from work, family, and life, exploring martial arts is an excellent way to release some of the tension.
Sense of Accomplishment
Unlike running on a treadmill or pedaling in a spin class, martial arts involves a series of progressions that define advancement and skill level. Through practice and commitment, martial arts enthusiasts can see themselves advance from novice to expert. Measurement through recognition builds confidence and creates a rewarding environment.
Pop culture and Hollywood have misled many people into believing that martial arts are strictly about training and fighting. In truth, high-quality martial arts training should include many other attributes such as strength and conditioning. Various techniques are employed that develop strength through calisthenics, which makes martial arts a great way to become stronger without getting bulky.
Research shows that the combination of exercise and energy found in martial arts considerably bolsters stamina. Chemicals released in the brain make you feel better, stimulate the immune system and have even demonstrated anti-aging capabilities.
The soft style routines found in some forms of martial arts dramatically increase flexibility. Training and study of martial arts require an entire range of motion from the body, and that helps with coordination and balance.
There are many forms of martial arts to choose from. Find one that’s right for you and discover the benefits first hand.
We want to eat healthily…but we love good food.
We want to exercise…but we like to be lazy.
We want to quit smoking…but will probably just pick up another cigarette.
We want to quit drinking too much…but enjoy drinking.
We want to save money…but enjoy our lifestyle.
We want to eat more veggies…but chips taste better.
We want to read a book…but we love watching TV.
We want to take care of our planet…but still waste because it’s easy.
We want to live in the moment…but are always looking at our screens.
We want to be happy…but we are satisfied with just okay.
We want to make a change…but are ambivalent to do so.
Think about your own life and all of the things within it that you’d like to change. Do you see both reasons to change and reasons not to? If yes, you are not alone. This ambivalence is widespread for us humans, but the good news is that if you are at this stage, you are at least heading in the right direction.
You can view the steps to making a change as:
1. Someone needs to make a change, but they don’t see why.
2. Someone needs to make a change, and they see why, but also see reasons why things should stay the same.
3. Someone needs to make a change, chooses a path to move in that direction, and follows it (no matter what).
Today we are talking about step 2 - the ambivalence stage. This stage is where people get stuck for a long time trying to make a change. It seems with every step you take in the right direction, you are pulled back towards the other side by seemingly good reasons and arguments on why things should stay the same. We like them that way, and they are comfortable, easy, and enjoyable.
I’m here to tell you that is completely normal. Inside you though, you know that a change needs to happen. You know the lifestyle that you want to curate for yourself and long for it frequently.
When you’re ready to move from step 2 to step 3, you will finally make that change. When you are fed up with being ambivalent, you will pick a path out of your old ways and follow it. You won’t let the talk inside your head bring you back to sustaining the old habits. Until then, expect to remain stuck at the ambivalent stage.
When you are ready, willing, and able to move on, you will go for it. When you go for it, you will slip and fall and take steps backward. That is okay. You need to have an unlimited re-do button that you just hit over and over again (we call this the clean slate policy). You have to! Because if you are actually struggling with ambivalence, even when you finally decide to make a change, you will double back and fail.
But what am saying you know this already, right? How many times have you tried to ________________? We often make statements like, “I’m not going to eat any more junk food.” But of course, we inevitably eat junk food (sometimes embarrassingly close to when we just swore it off). Without the clean slate policy, we just give up. We assume we aren’t capable of making the change and just quit…until we get fed up with ourselves enough to try again.
So, what have you been longing to change? Are you ready? Are you willing? Are you able? Are you fed up enough to finally say “I’ve had enough” and do something about it? This time, it’s not going to be a start and stop. This time when you decide to make that change, stick with it for life. Go down that path away from the old habit and no matter how many times you fall, get back up and try again.
“To Fall Seven Times. To Rise Eight Times. Life Begins Now.” - Daruma
Towards the end of this year, we will begin accepting both male and females into our nutrition and lifestyle coaching program again. Our next group will start on Monday, January 1, 2018.
Input your name and email address below to be one of the first to receive notification when we begin accepting this next group.
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.
A recent Consumer Reports article presented the latest research on keeping our minds sharp, especially as we age. As I read the article, I couldn’t help but notice that each of the five areas discussed could be addressed by being actively involved in a Martial Arts program!
1. Reducing Stress
Exercise is well known for its ability to aid in the reduction of stress. Add to that the myriad of stress-reducing benefits of the Martial Arts in particular and you have a true stress buster.
2. Staying Connected
By this, the authors meant staying connected socially with others. The social aspects of a training class such as a Martial Arts class cannot be underestimated, not to mention Martial Arts classes are fun and engaging, helping you to commit to the long term benefits.
3. Feeding the Brain
Consuming a nutritionally-balanced diet is key to any Martial Arts program and your overall healthy lifestyle. The recommendations for maintaining healthy brain function are much the same as for maintaining overall healthy body function: minimizing trans-fat intake, reducing saturated fat intake, and consuming more fish and other foods that contain healthy fats.
4. Staying Fit
Physical activity is the best-known way of protecting your brain against aging. The recommendation here is the same as for general health and well-being: at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days. Martial Arts training incorporates daily exercise into your routine in a fun and exciting way so that you can stick to it.
5. Flexing Brain Muscles
Use it or lose it. The mental aspect of Martial Arts training provides this type of mental stimulation along with a great physical workout. This is something I discuss with our adult students on a very regular basis. Adult students often notice that the martial arts we teach are so technique oriented, cerebral, and detailed that they sometimes have difficulty remembering the techniques. That is exactly why it is so beneficial for you. Using the brain to make the mind and body work together performing a complicated Jiu Jitsu technique, or a long Kata in Kenpo is exactly the kind of workout that your brain needs!
Keep in mind that “aging” doesn’t mean you’re heading toward your 90s. Depending on your lifestyle, aging-related changes in your brain such as memory loss can begin as early as your 20s or 30s. So stay committed to your Martial Arts training. Your mind will thank you for it.
Some people plan on doing crossword puzzles and sudoku to keep their minds working as they age. I for one plan on rolling and practicing my forms/techniques when I’m 90!