You’re Never Too _____ to Start Martial Arts
If someone were to ask if you wanted to take martial arts, would you say “I’ve always wanted to, but I’m too _____”? No matter what words you used to fill in that blank, your excuse is probably the reason why you should start martial arts. Like, right now. Counter-intuitive? Maybe, but the majority of reasons we give to avoid starting a new activity are actually fears that limit our growth and development. Let’s look at the most common excuses we hear from people when we invite them to join our dojo:
I’m Too Old
This has to be the most common excuse adults give about experiencing anything new, but age is just an attribute like eye-colour or height. We seem to think that there is a time limit for learning new skills or acquiring new hobbies. Many of our adult friends and family members use this excuse when invited to come try a class, but when asked to explain what “too old” means, often all we get is a blank stare, “Why? Well, once you reach a certain age, you shouldn’t…” Shouldn’t what? Do something fun or healthy? Challenge yourself?
What reason can you give to stop yourself from participating in something that is physically, mentally and socially stimulating? Martial arts is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise and strength training, both of which are proven to keep a person feeling younger and more energetic. Training also requires a lot of mental energy, focus, and memory which helps prevent age-related memory loss. The camaraderie you build with your classmates and other martial artists is very strong and their support will motivate you to keep improving yourself, and hopefully, keep pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone.
I’m too Out-of-Shape
This excuse is just silly, it’s like saying you’re too sick to go to the doctor, or you’re too cold to put on a coat. If you’re out of shape, the best thing you can do is begin an exercise regimen. Obviously, if you have any serious health concerns you should consult your physician before beginning an exercise program, but the universal prescription for anyone who is out of shape is simply to be more active.
- Each of our classes can be broken down into 3 parts:
- Cardio intensive warm up combined with body weight exercises
- Stretching to increase functional flexibility
- More cardio and strengthening exercise in the form of:
- Kata, kumite, self-defense, kickboxing, whatever Sensei has planned for that class
All exercises and activities can be adjusted to your current level of fitness, and while you are encouraged to push yourself, overexertion does not provide any health benefits. Any injuries or disabilities should be discussed with Sensei Bryan so he can advise you on how to adapt all exercises and movements to prevent aggravating your condition.
Just because you can’t do something today doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do it tomorrow. If you’ve always wanted to try martial arts, start now and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll achieve things you never thought possible.
I’m too Scared of Being Hit
This is a legitimate concern as students in our program will eventually practice kumite (sparring) with each other. The important thing to remember is that students will not engage in kumite until they have been trained to hit and be hit properly. In order to begin sparring in class, a student will have to demonstrate proper punching technique, control, coordination and respect for their classmates. Students will also have to demonstrate confidence, trust and a willingness to be on the receiving end of contact.
Beginning at White Belt, students will practice punching and kicking drills on thai pads and body shields. This will condition the skin, joints and bones of the hands and feet for impact. On the flip side, holding the pads and shields will allow students to get used to receiving hits to the limbs and body. Once students have shown proficiency in the pad drills and passed their Half-Yellow Belt Test, light contact sparring will begin. When sparring, all students must wear helmets, sparring gloves, foot gear, and mouth guards at all times. We also encourage students to be vocal about their boundaries and to let their sparring partner know how much force is acceptable.
While practicing kumite can be scary at first, there is definitely something empowering in knowing that you can take a hit in a “mind over matter” kind of way. Kumite teaches resilience, perseverance, self-control and respect for yourself and others.
I’m too Weak
I’ve actually heard parents say this about their children and teens/adults saying this about themselves. All I have to say is: HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT?!!
Whether you’re referring to yourself or another person, you should never ever assume someone is incapable of doing something before they even have a chance to try. When it comes to martial arts, those with mental fortitude, determination, technique and dedication will find greater success than those that rely on physical size and strength alone.
In many cases “I’m too weak” is just another way of saying, “I’m too scared to try because I might fail.” Well, guess what? Failure is a normal and expected part of life in general, it is how we react to failure that defines our strength and character. In the words of Sensei Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of karate:
“Nana Korobi, Ya Oki” - Seven times down, eight times up
If you’ve ever wanted to try a martial arts, please do yourself a great favour and do it. Don’t let fear prevent you from trying something that could be your true passion in life. All people should be encouraged to acknowledge theirs fears and shown that they can overcome them whenever possible, only then can we reach our maximum potential.