As an avid martial arts enthusiast and instructor who has joined many schools over the course of my life, a frequent statement or question I come across as it relates to older individuals is, “I am in my 40’s now, I am too old to begin learning martial arts?” or “Now that I am getting older, is it too late to start learning martial arts?’
Frequently, this question is posed with a tone that indicates that they know the response is going to be, “Yes.”
Given that I am a practitioner already in my 40’s, I couldn’t disagree more. Whilst it may be initially more difficult to begin your martial arts journey later in life, by beginning slowly and building up your endurance and intensity as time goes on, you will start to realise that martial arts doesn’t have any age limitation, and in fact, it can provide many benefits as you get older.
If you’re interested in trying a martial art, but are afraid that you will struggle because of your age, please understand you are not alone in your concerns.
Many older adults intend to start; however let their fears get the better of them, and they allow age be the limiting factor, convincing them not to give it a go.
One thing I would like to point out is this, if you don’t take the plunge and give martial arts training a try, you’ll never have the opportunity to experience all of the wonderful benefits it can provide.
So if you have been considering starting your martial arts journey, however, concerns over your age are holding you back, let me assure you that age is just a number, and shouldn’t be the deciding factor in making great improvements in your health and lifestyle.
At Wu Xing Dao on the Central Coast, we have a number of students who are over 40 years of age, and our oldest student is in their 80’s, so you will never feel intimidated if you decide to join us and begin learning Kung Fu.
Here are just a few of the many reasons why I would encourage you to give martial arts a try, regardless of how old you are:
1. Self-Defence is vital in today’s society
The sad reality is that in today’s day and age with escalating violence in many cities around the world, it is vital for everyone to know simple aspects of self-defence.
Even if you’re lucky enough to live in the safest country on earth, it does not guarantee that you will never experience threats of violence.
At the end of the day, it is better to be prepared for anything, and having a set of practical skills to protect yourself or your loved ones is great for your self-confidence and awareness.
When you start learning techniques for self-defence, you’re not only arming yourself with the skills that allow you to defend yourself but also learning new abilities, such as thinking quickly and remaining calm when confronted with difficult or dangerous circumstances.
2. Training increases flexibility
The majority of martial arts systems have the propensity to make individuals feel more youthful the more they train.
Throughout your class, you will learn various movements that increase range of motion and teach you to use your body differently, which in turn will improve muscular strength, as well as make them more supple and flexible.
This lowers your possibility of injury in your day to day life, as stronger muscles also provide more stability for your joints, and decrease pressure on the ligaments.
In addition, all martial arts require a level of coordination and balance, and certain specific arts like Kung Fu and Judo also teach a student how to fall correctly, i.e. how to land in a way that distributes weight as much as possible which can minimise the damage to your body.
It is interesting to note that injuries caused by falls are the leading cause of fatalities in Americans who are over age 65, so having improved balance, and practice softening the impact from falling are clearly important skills.
3. Good health is something all of us should be able to enjoy, even in later life
Although exercise is necessary regardless of your age, as we begin to grow older it becomes more critical to exercise regularly, in order to continue to feel energetic and maintain a strong immune system.
Within a relatively short amount of time practising martial arts, you will see great progress, not only in being able to move more freely and with better coordination, but also by elevating your mood and connecting with other like-minded individuals who enjoy trying to better themselves.
Who knows, after a few years of consistent training, you may find yourself to be even healthier than you were at a much younger age.
I often say that the best workouts are those where you don’t feel like you are exercising. When it comes to martial arts, getting in shape is a by-product of your practice, and the skills training of Kung Fu is so varied that each session is one to look forward to, so exercising never seems like a chore or a boring repetitive practice you have to force yourself attend.
It’s no secret that participating in any form of regular exercise will allow you to reach a peak state of health and wellness. Nevertheless, you will certainly notice the many health benefits of practising martial arts, such as improved stamina, lower resting heart rate, stronger bones, and heightened immune system response.
In addition to that, martial arts practice will improve blood circulation, enhance your metabolism, and dissolve troublesome fat, while increasing muscle tone and strength.
Did you know that regular martial arts practice can actually reverse the aging process?
Wu Xing Dao Kung Fu has a great Qigong program that complements our martial arts training, and increases your energy levels, helping you to feel younger, stronger and more alert.
4. A healthy mind is a focused mind
Absolutely nothing takes the frustration out of a busy day’s work faster than letting loose on a kick pad or punching bag during your martial arts class.
The physical action of striking pads or meditative feeling of performing a Tai Chi form enables you to relieve any built-up tension in a fun and safe environment. By diverting your attention to practising forms or working on specific techniques, it can help you to unburden your mind (at least temporarily) and let you channel your energy in a helpful way, rather than focusing on your day to day struggles, causing you further stress and anxiety.
It is a well-known fact that exercise programs help in reducing stress, but were you aware that stress and anxiety can also increase the possibility of mental deterioration or dementia?
As a result, lowering your tension and blood pressure with an activity that likewise benefits physical fitness is a win-win situation!
5. Martial Arts can benefit EVERYONE!
It is an unfortunate situation that many people are of the belief that martial arts are only for a certain type of individual, who is of a solid build, stays in peak physical shape, and has great endurance.
Yet the most important thing to remember is this: You do not need to be physically gifted to begin martial arts training and most of us that start training martial arts do so because we don’t have any of those traits.
If you end up becoming a lifelong enthusiast of Martial Arts as I am, one thing is for sure, you can certainly achieve all of these things if it is your aspiration to do so.
All it actually takes is that desire to start your training journey, and of course to devote yourself to it once you begin.
I would argue that anyone, regardless of their gender, age, body shape and/or current physical fitness, there will be a class at Wu Xing Dao Kung Fu that will suit your needs. So all that’s required is being open to feedback and bringing a positive attitude, and you will have a great time while you’re learning new skills!
6. Martial Arts are a great way to challenge oneself
Martial arts will certainly help you to improve both your physical and mental health.
When you take the time to reflect on recent events when was the last time you truly pushed yourself?
Martial Arts will test you physically and mentally, challenging you to find, and exceed, your current limits. It is not likely to be very easy, that’s for certain.
But when you persist and press on despite facing difficulties, there’s nothing more gratifying than overcoming them.
So why not take up the challenge this year by enrolling in a Martial Arts program, and find out how it can help to strengthen your resolve, whilst building a leaner and stronger body too.
When you start to achieve your goals one by one, gaining confidence as you go, there is no doubt you will build a powerful mind and body, because martial arts have a way of forging an indomitable warrior spirit, that will assist you in all facets of life.
7. It is never too late to change, and strive to be in the best shape of your life
Each day is a brand new opportunity to work on being the best version of yourself possible, and Martial Arts can be the vehicle to can get you there.
Many practitioners of Martial Arts will attest to the fact that training in their chosen discipline has helped with their physical, emotional and mental development, and in many cases has completely transformed their life.
One of the most powerful aspects of Martial Arts training is that it promotes constant self-improvement, and provides you with a structured way to measure your progress, so you can make small steps to a stronger you, each and every day.
Therefore, you will continuously be striving to reach a higher level, and with the support of a great school and instructor to get you there, I am confident you will evolve in every aspect of your life.
At the end of the day, it is important to remember that you only live once, so why allow your age to stop you from reaching your fullest potential?
8. Martial Arts are safe when practised under the correct supervision
One of the common misconceptions regarding Martial Arts practice is that it is inherently dangerous, and turns people off joining a school because of the fear of being injured during training.
If your only exposure to Martial Arts comes from viewing MMA fights on television, the thought of joining a school and sparring with a young, fit and aggressive fighter, is scary and unsettling.
Thankfully, that’s not how we run our classes at Wu Xing Dao Kung Fu. Safety is of the utmost importance when practising Martial Arts, and the instructors and students are given very strict guidelines to follow, teaching the correct way to practice to ensure the chances of injury are highly unlikely.
After all, if your training partners are hurt during practice you won’t have anyone to work with in class, so co-operative training helps students gain confidence and develop skills by working together.
There are many other advantages to Martial Arts besides training for combat.
Martial Arts are not all about fighting, they are a way to channel your focus, test your boundaries, increase your coordination, and improve your confidence, even in stressful situations.
9. The Martial Arts Community is all about comradery and friendship
One more advantage for a middle-aged martial artist is that many of us keep practising into later life, meaning it is highly likely that there are other participants around your age, on the floor in every class.
It can usually be challenging to meet like-minded individuals as we age, due to the fact that commitments like our jobs and/or our children restrict our capacity to get out and about and meet new people.
When you join a Martial Arts school, you will enjoy an hour or more of training every week with other people who share your passion for self-improvement.
Many fantastic relationships have their roots in martial arts classes.
10. Getting fit should be FUN!
I can’t think of anything more boring than going to my local gym and running on a treadmill, it feels like I am just a hamster on a wheel. Martial Arts are a great way to achieve a high level of fitness because many of the exercises involve fun activities that make you forget you are actually training. When you feel enthusiastic about working out and actually look forward to heading to the gym, it is much easier to commit to a long term training program.
I am confident that the variety of exercises you will enjoy when practising at Wu Xing Dao Kung Fu will make sure you never get bored and help you achieve your goals for many years to come.
There you have it, 10 awesome reasons it is never too late to participate in Martial Arts. If you would like to learn more or come in for a free trial of our amazing system, then we would love to hear from you!