Monday, October 20, 2008

Too old to start?

I've posted before on the topic of what the right age is to begin martial arts training. I'll not spoil the surprise because there is no perfect age (seven), as different kids have different (seven) abilities, attention spans, (seven), and commitment levels (seven). I'll just say that before the age of six most kids don't have the developmental maturity necessary for sustained training.

Of course, that is a discussion of the low end of the scale. I'm often asked, or more correctly hear, "I am too old to start." I have bad knees, hips, eyelids, nose hair, or (I actually heard this) unsightly toenails. Martial arts are for the young. If you start later in life you can never truly be good. There are more excuses for avoiding martial arts than Dallas has Cheerleaders. Of course, the excuses aren't as much fun to examine.

As Colonel Sherman Potter used to say, "Horse hockey." Everybody has something physically going on. They're too short, too skinny, too fat, too slow, too winded, too nearsighted, too farsighted, too broad shouldered, I mean the list is just endless. Too short? LucyLiu is 5' 3", Jet Li is 5' 6.5" Too tall? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 7' 2"

Too fat? Consider Sammo Hung, a Chinese martial artist who has worked with many other notables including Jackie Chan, and had a CBS television show in the late 1990's called Martial Law. The dear Mr. Hung, a.k.a. the Biggest Big Brother, tips the scales at 245. In one scene of the television show an adversary comments that Sammo is out of shape. He replies, "No, just fat." If, you've never seen this guy in action take a look:.



Far sighted, nearsighted? Read about the blind Judo artist who beat up a would-be mugger.

Martial arts is about building up your physical strength, flexibility, endurance, and appearance. My daughter started at the age of eleven. When she walks across the room in her bare feet you can hear her ankles crack likes logs in fire. She's set off the smoke detector twice getting a drink of water at night.

If you've been intrigued by martial arts, but thought that you couldn't participate because of some physical short coming; rest assured you're not alone. Martial arts classes are filled with common everyday people with flat feet, migraines, acid reflux, week knees, sore hips, blind spots, big ears, dentures, high blood pressure, crows feet, laugh lines, and (gasp) ugly toes.

These same people are also good friends, in better shape, have more endurance, wider range of motion, better concentration, improved self esteem and confidence than their neighbors who haven't yet signed up. The first day is the hardest. We're waiting for you.

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