Are you too old to start learning martial arts?

Who hasn’t said this at one time or another? On vacation last week I overheard a friend saying just those words as she talked about her failed attempt at “skimboarding”. Thinking that the fact that she was pushing 40 had everything to do with why she wound up in a pile of limbs and sand after a brief but agonizing moment on top of her son’s board.

Listening to her I heard the echoes of dojo and the same lament from a lot of you. Sure your body wears out and reflexes slow, but it’s not nearly as bad as you think.

Think back to my friend, what did she expect, the most “athletic” activities she has done in the past 22 years are jog and play bacci ball. Though these are noble endeavors, they are a far cry from skimming along the surface on a piece of wood.

How much of a chance did she give herself? I mean, really.

When you are young, everything is new. You are used to learning new skills and being challenged ALL of the time. You have too. As an animal, your very survival depends on your ability to adapt and think. When you are young, you can’t be afraid to try new things because EVERYTHING is new!

Now as you age, you become more sedentary. Being good at kickball is not as important to you when your 30 as it is when your 10, unless you’re me of course.

The problem is:

  1. We expect too much from ourselves
  2. You don’t give yourself a chance to learn

The solution is:

  1. Set the bar a little lower
  2. Be patient with yourself

We all want to be perfect, we all want to succeed. But no one can be and no one ever is. All you have to do is be a little better than the last time. And before you know it, you’ll be waking up those nerve endings and reflexes again.

Worry about the little victories, making it through warm-ups, trying to do perfect push-ups;  just take care of the little details and the big details will take care of themselves.

Is there an age when it is too late to learn martial arts?

Many people believe that the earlier you start learning something, the better.

This tactic has already proven itself in many sports. For example, in rhythmic gymnastics, artistic gymnastics, acrobatics, in those sports where complex actions are present.

The child begins to engage in these sports from early childhood. He learns difficult exercises in the same way he learns to walk. And these complex movements are given to him quite easily.

But if he is not mentally mature enough for something bigger, then, as a rule, at the age of 20-25 he gives up his training and concentrates on other things such as career, and many other interesting things and events.

So if a person has not realized by that time that he is no longer an athlete, but a person who is practicing martial arts, then the training is abandoned. I can confirm that with my own personal experience as a trainer

The fact is that martial arts, after all, are arts, that in addition to the physical component, they carry a certain moral implication.

Of course, you can train a child exclusively for sports. And in this case, you can start training from a very early age. But in this case, the person will have that career that is observed in athletes of any other sport. 

True, this person can eventually switch from sports to martial art, which, by the way, does not prevent him from continuing to play sports. After all, you can go in for sports for a long time and up to 40, and up to 50 years, and even further. 

Although in this age, the physical component of sports in martial arts is already fading into the background.

Now, as for the older age, those who are over the age of 30, 40 or even 50. Is it possible to start training at those ages?

I will give an example from my personal experience.

There are people who wanted to train. But martial arts classes were either forbidden, or there was no trainer in the city where they lived, or there was no opportunity, no time, for example.

Those people practiced other sports. But, when they had their chance, they remembered their desire to practice the martial arts and began to come to the gym.

There is another category of people who is more inclined to some philosophical component of martial arts. They have read a lot of books about Japan, about samurai, about ninja. And they have a certain romantic image of a martial arts adept. These are mostly women.

For example, I have trained a lot of women who want to learn martial arts not just in the form of knowledge, but in the form of action. They are attracted to the beauty of it, but they come to me for the ritualistic part of it. They like the awareness of the martial spirit.

The next category is people who want to do a sport for their health. They just need to do something healthy. Of course, these people, before they came to me, either were already engaged in other sports or they did not do anything at all.

Some were doing fitness or powerlifting, others were riding bikes. But one way or another, these people came to the realization that they wanted to do a sport that would be good for their health and have a good practical aspect. And they chose martial arts.

Because martial arts have physical exercises, functionality and real application of things you’ve learned. And people really like it

So I’ve clearly demonstrated that people come to the gym with completely different ideas. One wants one thing, another wants another. And in the end, all these people do the same thing, in the same club.

And the most important thing is that no matter what were the original reasons for starting the training, everyone comes to the understanding that martial arts is a way to form a certain internal morality, spirit and lifestyle. And the formation of this platform occurs through training and work on their own body.

Everyone who comes to the gym finds what they came for and gets more. After all, what they came for is only a small part of the martial arts.

Of course, you can’t deny the coach’s work in these changes. If the trainer can convey all this to the person, then he becomes not just a trainer, but a teacher. Only a real teacher can present a martial art so that it becomes a way of life.

All those skills, all those ways to overcome some obstacles, those ways to fight, those strategies and tactics to work on your own body and spirit – they are all applicable in all areas of life.

Conclusion

And so it’s never too late to start learning martial arts. Everyone will find something for themselves in martial arts. And as a result, he will begin to understand himself better, expand the quality of his life and the boundaries of his worldview.