martial arts after 40

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussions' started by Franco, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. Franco

    Franco BUDO

    I've heard over and over its never to late but seriously is it a good idea to start Martial arts after 40 especially in physical demanding arts like Judo, BJJ, or MMA not taking anyting away from other arts but in my opinion isn't Tai-Chi for example better for an older student especially when the school is inundated with 20 something year olds or am I wrong?
    Michael A. Fields likes this.
  3. Eric M. Miller

    Eric M. Miller Samurai

    you want an art that is more about flowing and using leverage and smarts, rather than sheer strength and as i call it "hulk smashing your way to victory". you want hapkido or tai-chi, maybe wing chun and deffinately aikido. judo is alright, thought you will be hard pressed, same with jujitsu. mma is a young man's sport, im sorry. hard on joints too. yes, understand your limitations and that you arent a young little raggamuffin anymore, and it will help show you which art is best
    Franco likes this.
  4. UK-Student

    UK-Student Disciple

    I disagree. There is only one way to defend yourself - which is hitting really hard and relentlessly and having a basic knowledge of positioning and close-range clinch fighting. If you want to learn self defence, this is the only way.

    If you want to learn an art that is considered a soft style and has less self defence value (apologies to those who train Tai Chi as a real working art, I know you guys exist) then go ahead and do Tai Chi.

    To say to an older person, no you can't learn the version that has self defence value - you must learn the one who doesn't takes away free will and choice. I find that unfair.

    Now, yes, martial arts like TKD and Judo place stress on your joints (famously the knees in both arts) and an older person might be more susceptible to this stress but that works two ways. Firstly, maybe doing a "harder" martial art has more fitness value and helps you with later life problems with cholesterol. Secondly, if you are a retiree, why not go out there and do something risky because unlike a younger man, an injury won't impair your sporting prime and won't mean you miss work and maybe lose your job.

    If older people want to take the same risks as younger people, let them. Those risks still for sure exist for younger people. The most important thing is to find an understanding instructor who will let them say "No" when something is bad for them and generally let them some of their own rules in the class based on what is allowed and not allowed. Maybe their younger partner has to play Uke more than Tori. Tough shit, you respect your elders, son.

    MMA is difficult if you train to a fighter's level but the basic components are fine for older people. Benson Henderson's mum just took up BJJ. I am sure there are loads of older people who train BJJ, just probably a little easier than everyone else. Lots of older people in JJ, Judo, etc.

    Older people, if you like Tai Chi, do Tai Chi. If you like kickboxing but know you can't run with the younger kids at their pace, find an instructor who can incorporate that into the class or run a specialised class. If you feel fine, have been fit your whole life then just get in there. It's probably not best to train with guys who are training to fight MMA but there are plenty of schools out there that train for recreation.
    Dpendleton and Franco like this.
  5. Rockne Helms

    Rockne Helms Disciple

    It totally depends on your physical and mental limitations. I began TKD at age 51, got my black belt at age 55 (and it ain't no mcdo-jang). I ocasionaly go and work out with some Kajukenbo brothers, hapkido friends, jiu-jitsu artist. Flexibility (you can gain it) in both body and mind, and a release of self conscious inhibitions help, just step up and do it. People will applaud you before making fun of you. Some arts will strain you and doing lots of joint locks and submission style will be harder to recover from. I'm in the habit of working out 5 days a week and assistant instructing 2 times a week. Though I have always been "athletic" due to the extreme nature of some of my early years I broke my back, neck, crushed shoulder, hip surgeries, but I hang in there. A good school will help you push through your percieved limitations, and students whether young or old will and should be supportive and will revel in your achievements just like you should. It is never too late. Can old guys hang with the young guys...probably not, but there is no one who works harder than I do in class and that's a fact and I go as hard as I can for as long as I can because I feel I owe it to every other student to give them the best I have to help them. For TKD I love the forms/patterns/hyungs and no matter age, or sex, or size if you work at your forms you can compete in that arena always. I have won grand champion because I simply love kata/hyungs and no one is punchin my grill, kicking me, or throwing me on the ground and twisting me up into a pretzel. Try some different places, they all generally offer a free class. Go in and talk to them, see what they offer, see what they offer you. I started with my little boy and it was the best decision I ever made.
  6. Eric M. Miller

    Eric M. Miller Samurai

    i disagree completely with the first part. to say striking is the only method and the only practical method is completely wrong. alot of the times simple sweeps are more effective in a fight than multiple punches. no that is ignorant.

    i agree striking is essential to training, but limited striking is perfectly fine. besides, the hard and heavy arts tend to be harder for older individuals, with exceptions. my dad has hit his 50's as a 4th dan blackbelt in nara-seecha karate. he has said how "hulk smashing" is alot harder and nearly impractical at his age. granted he's arthritic. but capability does matter, and doing an art you arent good at will suck.

    age very simply does matter.
    Franco likes this.
  7. Rockne Helms

    Rockne Helms Disciple

    And off the subject but in response to the UK gentleman above. I certainly am of the school of hit hard, hit fast and hit relentlessly (or kick) but to say that is the only way to defend yourself is narrow minded. I was attacked on a bus once by someone trying to steal my Ipod. I guess he thought an old guy was easy prey. I never hit him once. I used a kyusho pressure point on his wrist and elbow, turned it into a joint lock on the wrist, arm bar to the ground, elbow lock behind his back and whispered in his ear about using his energy for getting a job as I escorted him off the bus to not a few resounding cheers. Its always good to understand the physics of close combat, but not the only way to defend oneself by any means.
  8. Mr.Bond

    Mr.Bond Big Ass Dog

    I am 51 yrs old and I think that you can do almost any art but not as hard or as fast as you would have when you were twenty. Sadly the body ages. But it ages less if you are active.
    Notice I said "you" because you can only really compare to yourself. I may be 51, but when I work out regularly, I am as fast and as strong as some twenty years my age. But then again, I have been doing this a while so there is a lot of experience behind it. As far as Judo, I took Judo when younger but I hurt my right knee skiing and I noticed that I had some issues with my knee and Judo when I tried to get back in it, But then that is an issue of an injury, not age or maybe both....

    Doing something is better than nothing. Just be aware that the hairpiece may fall off!
  9. Eric M. Miller

    Eric M. Miller Samurai

    agree entirely. sweeps, throws, joint manipulations, pressure points, there are many ways more than stiking
    Franco likes this.
  11. 56 here and Kenpo is not a problem for me...train smart and fight fact if possible, avoid fighting altogeather but train until you take your last breath...don't let the fire go out on your candle.
    SifuPhil, Dpendleton, Franco and 2 others like this.
  12. jeannie

    jeannie Initiate

  13. jeannie

    jeannie Initiate

    I have been training Shotokan Karate since April 2004 and achieved my black belt in 2009 - I started training when I was 58 -I train 6 days a week and I am training to take 2nd Dan inNovember 2012. I believe that age is no barrier but train within your physical limitations. I can keep up with most students but unable to kick to the head. Assess the situation and go in hard and fast to take the villian by surprise. All students are at different levels - students faster / slower and so help eash other in training.
  14. Traderjoe

    Traderjoe Disciple

    Consider Bujinkan Ninjutsu I am turning 50 soon and love it. Train within your limits and keep don't work too much on flexibilty too fast. We train with technique not power.
    Franco likes this.
  15. fooboo

    fooboo Initiate

    "There is only one way to defend yourself - which is hitting really hard and relentlessly and having a basic knowledge of positioning and close-range clinch fighting. If you want to learn self defence, this is the only way."

    "If you want to learn an art that is considered a soft style and has less self defence value..."

    I disagree. I have been training in Wing Chun for several years now and I have had to use it practically when I was attacked in the street. If you learn your art well it does not have less self defence value, in fact I'd say the fact that it doesn't rely on strength and stamina means I can go on defending myself for longer than a hard style as I wont wear myself out nearly as quickly. This will only be more true as I get older. So for me it has more self defence value.

    It is not my intention to put down hard style arts, I respect them and see their value, but any art is only as good as the practitioner. If you can't defend yourself well using a soft style art then it is a matter of your application and practice, not a weakness in the art, just as the same would be true if I failed to defend myself using karate or jujitsu etc. It would be my application of the art that failed, not the art itself.

    I concede that softer styles can take longer to learn or be effective in but then as far as I can see my Wing Chun will only get better with the years, not weaken as my body does, so it has a long term value.
    SifuPhil and Franco like this.
  16. Dpendleton

    Dpendleton Warrior Monk

    Well I will be 42 in October and I am going to be starting Judo and Kenpo Karate. I am going to ride this till the wheels fall off.
  17. dmach

    dmach Martial Archivest

    I will be 40 this year. I'm coming from the the position of having been involved with Martial Arts since I was young.

    The key question that you should be considering is what is your current level of fitness? If you already are reasonably fit, then you are in a MUCH better place to start than someone who has been a couch potato for the last 10 years. In any case, being older you SHOULD be smarter! You should know your limitations and approach them in such a way that you overcome them at your own pace. Age is not a barrier to either fitness or Martial Arts. Look at the cast of Expendables 2, Jason Statham is the YOUNGEST at 42, closely followed by Randy Couture.

    The only issue is the inundated with 20 year olds. Not the having to compete with them, but more the character of the dojo/dojang. If they are forever getting into dick measuring competitions, that can get a bit much if there is no one else your own age/maturity level. If they are more grounded however, then why no?. But this should be a consideration for picking a school at any age.

    Will you be as strong or fast as the younger guys - well probably not, but again my experience is that the older fighters are much more cunning than the younger ones.
    Franco and Dpendleton like this.
  18. Mr.Bond

    Mr.Bond Big Ass Dog

    incorporate some Yoga......
    Franco likes this.
  19. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    I'm glad you apologized. :p

    What many people forget - or don't even realize to begin with - is that Taijiquan was originally taught to people who were in the prime of their lives, excellent physical specimens and usually already skilled in hard-style martial arts. It was seen as a refinement of those arts, a continuation, an add-on, and not as a separate art (unless of course you practiced it from childhood).

    Only later did it really branch out to be its own art, instead of a supplement, just as it lost a lot of its combat spirit over the years.

    But yes, Budo, Taiji as it is usually presented nowadays is a great exercise for seniors
    Franco likes this.
  20. tony7

    tony7 Disciple

    i have just turned 52, and granted i cant kick as high as i could , but after many years experience in different scenarios, i think i can call it still, not saying i,m invincible, but i think you have to be smarter nowadays, cos the street thug has no balls, and relys on blades or weapons, and have to be more in groups, so never think that us oldies are past it, cos i,ll be the 1st face you see lookingdown at you as you come around......
    Dpendleton and Franco like this.
  21. dgasmd

    dgasmd Disciple

    I think a lot depends on where you and your body are when you start. I started karate and jui jitsu at age 40, but I was an avid cyclist putting in 200-250 miles/week. To me there was nothing to this stuff at all in terms of physical demands and conditioning. My upper body needed/needs a lot of work though. I started judo a few months ago and that is another story. The joints in my hands are sore all the time. After a match last week, my neck and L shoulder and very sore, but I'm mindful of how dangerous judo is, so I try to stay within a very safe margin. No pride in getting injured just for trying to pretend I'm 20!!

    It can be done, but again, a lot depends on where you start to begin with!
    SifuPhil, Dpendleton and Franco like this.

Share This Page