Perhaps you've thought about taking up a martial art, but feel you’re not fit, young or healthy enough to fight others? You may not want to go head to head with a large, muscly young man to win your belts. However, not all martial arts are about fighting, especially those that base their principles on self-defence. Some welcome all ages, whatever your ability, as long as you have no serious health issues.
The benefit of taking up a martial art later in life, is that you can slow the ageing process, some even say you can even reverse aspects of it. You also get to have lots of fun and do things you never thought possible. I started Kuk Sool Won™ in my 30's and still enjoy teaching and training now I'm in my 50’s. Yes, there are some things I cannot do, but there are many more things I can do I’m also now a 4th degree black belt, something I never thought I would ever achieve.
It is said that martial art training slows the ageing process, I think there are a few extra benefits some of which I have described below:
• Emotional Well-being: There is a fair amount of research outlining the benefits of endorphins on the body and mind. People who have fun, challenge themselves and keep active, always feel better. They lead healthier lives and have a greater sense of achievement. When you find a friendly martial art school, you may find yourself having lots of fun and the benefits can be long lasting.
• Physical Strength: In Kuk Sool we focus on body posture or stances, practice self-defence techniques and body conditioning movements know as hyung or forms and learn how to fall safely. This activates a variety of muscle groups around the body, even some you never thought you had, making everyone stronger over time. Muscle burns more fat, and can help to lower cholesterol levels. Everyone benefits from the strength and cardio training for better health and fitness and women can reduce the risks of osteoporosis in older age.
• Mental Growth: Taking up any new hobby stimulates the mind. We know doing crosswords and Sudoku slows memory loss in older age. Challenging yourself by taking up a new sport can help maintain or even build mental agility. A martial art with an extensive amount of material to learn, can be the best thing for improving that fading memory that happens as we get older.
• Spiritual Healing: Through the practice of meditation and body conditioning movements, known in Kuk Sool as hyung, the mind can be calmed and stilled. The stilling of the mind is difficult in our very busy lives. By practicing martial arts, we can focus on being present whilst meditating and still our minds in the movements we learn. Self-defence martial arts are really good at creating a life that is much calmer, less stressed and freer to make those important decisions.
Caroline and Jane Hurst
Caroline is a 4th degree black belt and Jane is a 1st degree black belt in the traditional Korean martial art of Kuk Sool Won™ . They run 2 Kuk Sool Won™ martial arts schools in New Zealand.