I am coming up on the 25th anniversary on my starting martial arts training. Over the years, I have trained with different intensities, different desires and passions, different physical capabilities, different goals, and different consistencies. I began when I was 29, so a lot later than most. These last five or six years, I have increased my martial arts participation once again. And now, I have transitioned into teaching. Tai Chi has always been a part of my martial arts training. One reason I am a firm supporter of my organization, Beisho, it is an integrated system. Tai Chi has always been a part of the curriculum. I find myself receiving more requests to teach Tai Chi more than karate right now. As I teach and train with other Tai Chi instructors, I am finding many older martial artists are gravitating to Tai Chi. Many instructors and students say “I used to study…” I am beginning to find the connections between Tai Chi and older martial artists.
Several years ago, Black Belt magazine had an article on the topic, “Tai Chi Training for Middle-Aged Martial Artists Who Refuse to Quit”. The article addressed a number of reasons why we are seeing this trend. If martial artists are training seriously, injuries will occur. There are times when one needs to take some time to heal, but still wants to stay engaged in the arts. There are instances when these injuries may become much more prolonged, and our capabilities become diminished. Another is that we haven’t found a way to total stop the natural aging process we all experience, even at various levels. Over the years, we have heard about the lasting benefits of Tai Chi, due to the lesser amount of stress that is placed on the body during its practice. We now see Tai Chi, a martial art, being taught at senior centers, and Y’s, and health clubs all over the country. The practice seems to be much more and the health aspects and less on the martial aspects.
As for me, I have found it greatly beneficial. I see the connections between my Tai Chi and my Karate. I believe the are complementary. Quite honestly, Tai Chi may help me stay with Karate much longer. I look forward to the next twenty-five years in the martial arts. Who knows where it will lead me? If you are a martial artist that is getting older (if you are breathing you are getting older), take a look at adding Tai Chi to your training. If you are not a martial artist at all, try Tai Chi. It might not only help you, it may lead your to look at other martial arts, and take you places you may never have dreamed. So take it easy, take it slow, breathe, and move. Enjoy each day to its fullest. And experience all there is.
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