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Can Men Over 40 Survive Martial Arts Workouts?

Apr 8, 2008
If you begin martial arts workouts when you are over 40 prepare for the jokes: Tae Kwon Old, Senior Do, Health Care-a-te or Kung Old Fool. When someone asks me in the locker room about getting in shape I joke, "I'm aging so fast, I can't see my shape let alone get in it."

I came to tae kwon do in my forties. A confluence of circumstances brought me to the school of Grandmaster Byung Min Kim.

When I was out with an old friend at dinner, I found out he studied tae kwon do and was a black belt. He had studied since he was a kid, off and on. At the time, my son was young and I believed he could benefit from a good martial arts school. Then I happened to meet my future Master. I broker retail real estate and had actually offered a store front to Grandmaster Kim. I didn't make that sale, but he sold me on the value of tae kwon do.

Your expectation when you practice martial arts as a full grown adult are no different than those of any starry eyed kid. Expectations sculpted by legends like James Bond, Bruce Lee, Napoleon Solo and David Caradine in the television and movies of the 1950's and 60's.

I yearned to be deadly...and great looking!

Not long after I started my new mens workout, I visited my doctor because I was certain I was suffering an attack of the appendicitis. He guaranteed me that it was just soreness from all the sit-ups. I was merely out of shape.

I had exercised on a regular basis when when I was younger, but after getting married and having kids, I had pushed those regular workouts aside. In my forties now, I was out of breath. I had trouble breathing during recreational volleyball or tennis and I didn't seem to have the stamina to go dancing with my bride.

I decided to do something different. Within the same week, I started tae kwon do and piano lessons (middle age is so confusing).

For me, martial arts has been a seed planted in my body. If it has the right surroundings, it can root and grow. If you study martial arts you understand what I mean. If martial arts are new to you, believe me, changes you haven't even considered are coming. And if you are beginning this journey later if life, like I have, I give you this to remember:

Middle Aged = (patience + resolve)-(litheness + hair)

Think long term. That is the best advice that I live by. Listen to your body and not your mind. I have seen too many adults come into class and their minds say their body is 21. They either stretch too far, or kick too hard, or try to achieve what used to be easy.

Teachers will work to motivate everyone in class no matter the age or skill level. Though your head will say, "you can do this" your body will need more time to get there. In the short run, overreaching leads to injuries and those injuries cause you to want to quit, fulfilling the myth that this sport is only for the young.

Nonsense!

You can't understand the journey with one step; you can only understand one step of the journey, stick with it.

If a teacher is asking too much just remember, you're an adult student and age has its advantages. A good master will see your limitations and teach you in view of that which is where you build trust. And shy of that, trust your inner master.

Though I may be too old for Rock N Roll, I'm too young to die.
About the Author
Before you choose if your too old for martial arts, see Kalynn Amadio's great martial arts website Taekwondo-Network and learn more regarding mens workouts in tae kwon do when you're over 40. Remember, age is only a number.
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