Likely, you’re too busy, and have other commitments that demand more of your time that you can give to just one more activity, but honestly, you’re never too old for martial arts. Don’t even try to use that excuse!! Senior Master George (who trains in Concord) is in his 80s, and he still works at his material every day.

Everybody studies the arts for different reasons. Some participate looking for a general increase in fitness. Some take it because they want to learn techniques that would be helpful if they, or someone they love was threatened, and an opportunity arose to assist in their defense. Some want to learn the movements to incorporate them into a “moving meditation” routine. Some feel that the stances and movements will really help their balance, and possibly their flexibility. Some believe that by studying the forms and movements, their focus and mental stamina will be increased.

The truth? Every one of those benefits can be derived from taking martial arts! No matter the age, everyone can receive some benefit from studying.   A good instructor will scale the movements to the person’s ability and fitness level, yet still gently push the student to do just a little bit more next time, increase that stance just a little bit more, put just a little more power into the movement, stay just a little more upright…..all the while monitoring that the person is not put at risk for injury.

Not into the gung-ho self-defense aspect of the arts? (it’s called martial arts for a reason) Fine. The traditional five-animal forms offer an excellent way to receive the benefits of studying the arts. And while there are certainly some very martial aspects in those forms, if you just want the continuous movement and challenge to your balance and flexibility (not to mention memory!), this is something worth exploring.   The forms, once learned, can be performed in a very slow, controlled, and continuous way that replicates a tai chi routine. Or, if you want a bit more, do them faster. Not only will that work the body control and balance, it will increase physical stamina.

Age is a very mental thing.   If you allow yourself to feel old, you definitely will become old. Physical challenges make aging different (and sometimes very difficult) for all of us. How we take on those challenges and work to overcome them will reflect in what age we see ourselves, as well as how others see us. You may not be able to do flips and flying kicks (they look cool, but are not overly effective anyway), but….. Too old for martial arts? Never!