In Martial Art Tips

I am too old to do martial arts! How many times have I heard this? Or I am too busy or I will start as soon as I get in better shape. Or I will come back to class when I have sharpened up on my material. My work schedule is too hectic.

Really! I have heard so many different reasons/excuses for either not doing martial arts or not coming back to class. The reality is some people do not want to practice the art of Kenpo; they may like a different style of martial art. That’s great. And I understand people have reasons, some people have no reason, and some people have many. Most of the time the reason they give you is as far from the truth as a grizzly bear living in Egypt. This behavior and inability to follow through with a person’s plan reminds me of a book I read, “Resisting Happiness”.

Whatever the reason, understand that martial arts is more than a hobby. Kenpo is not a sport, it’s more than just an exercise class. It’s a way of life. A lifestyle, and most people will never live it.

Football was my life when I was younger. The sport kept me in school and helped me with my popularity status. I loved the game and played through many injuries. Broken fingers, hyperextended elbows, headaches from concussions, and bruised ribs. I did whatever I could to make sure I could play. I kept my grades up and I did what my parents needed me to do at home. I did not want anything to stop me from playing. When I got to college on a football scholarship I thought I had it all. My ego was at an all-time high. People treated me differently. They did things for me, all kinds of things. It was when I received that final injury on the field that it all changed. I can remember not really being able to feel my legs, like something was gone! It was gone all right. I never played another game, never put the uniform on again, and never stepped on the football field again. For years, I was depressed and felt empty.

As I look back at those days playing football, I honestly cannot remember ever making a positive difference in someone else’s life because of football. I cannot remember changing someone’s path or a moment of pushing somebody to be successful. I do remember physically hurting people. I do remember using football and my popularity as a means to get things. My point of all of this is I pushed myself physically and mentally to play the sport for self-gratification and made it possible for me to play at the cost of many things and people.

I am not knocking the game of football. I know there are positives that come from youth playing sports. It did keep me in school, it helped me keep my grades up, and it did keep me healthy. But at the age of 19 all of that ended abruptly. And in my eyes at that time, I was left with nothing. And here I was a young 19-year-old now with no dreams and no goals. It wasn’t until I was 22 years old I was introduced to the art of Kenpo Karate. It did not solve all my problems. And honestly I did not start training in Kenpo for a good reason. At that time in my life I just wanted to hit someone. And I figured I might as well learn how to do it correctly. As I look back now over the last 16 years of my wife and I owning our own school, my idea about the martial arts have changed dramatically. My reasons for training, my goals for the future. They’ve all changed.

Now let’s talk about the “I’m too old” reason. Honestly I believe you are never too old to do something good for yourself. One of my students mentioned to me yesterday that it makes no sense to her for somebody to use the excuse of being too old to do Kenpo. She said that Kenpo actually made her feel young. If that’s not reason enough!

There are so many health benefits to doing martial arts. It keeps your blood pressure down and keeps your weight down. Studies show that having a lack of stimulation to the brain is one of the causes of increased Alzheimer’s. I can tell you for sure Kenpo will stimulate your brain. The art of Kenpo is not just physical fitness, it is a thinking man’s/woman’s art. The art of Kenpo 5.0 has 128 self-defense techniques, 16 sets, and 9 forms/katas. Plus, all the basics and the student is required to maintain all of that knowledge throughout his training. Now that will keep your brain stimulated. As for the training and strenuous exercise that comes with the art of Kenpo, all students no matter of their age are encouraged to go at their own pace. You are not in competition with the other students in class. You are in class for yourself and the mistake many make is trying to keep up with others. Stay focused on your own growth and remember each individual has their own goals.

Now to the next topic. I don’t have enough time, I’m too busy, I can’t take on any more activities. You may be correct in the fact that you are busy. But I would suggest that the art of Kenpo can definitely be squeezed into your daily or weekly routine. It’s not too much. It’s kind of like food. If you eat and eat and eat you will get bigger so that you can eat and eat and eat more. That’s not necessarily good at all for you. But your body will increase in size so that you are able to eat more. It’s like lifting weights. The strength that you have presently will change as you continue to increase the weight. The weight you will be pushing next year will be different from the weight you are pushing this year. Therefore, you cannot say I could never lift that! Because one day you may be able to. Like my tithing at church. I know this from experience. The more I give of my time and treasures, the more I have received. And if you know me and my life you will know this to be a fact.

As for the students that are just hesitating with getting back on the mat, I will have another discussion for your silly reasons.

Keep pushing forward my friends,
Tony Potter

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