Over the years I have been asked by adults if karate is just for kids. Some have said that they would take lessons if they were younger.
Age is not a factor in the decision to take martial arts lessons!
Most important is matching your current physical health and developing a program that makes sense for you. That program should challenge you but not put your health at risk. Karate has always had ranks, and those ranks take physical ability into account. Beginner belts get small challenges until they are ready to progress to the next stage. As our stamina increases with practice and exercise, our desire to learn and progress increases, too. We learn to seek the next challenge that is right for us.
Many parents, including yours truly, began karate as an activity shared with their children. It is a great way to bond with your child and to help them learn the art. It also motivates them when they see Mom or Dad (sometimes both) working for the same goals as they are. I did not start practicing until my mid-thirties and received my first black belt at age 41. I have participated in black belt testing where the testers were in their fifties and sixties.
I know practicing black belts who are in their seventies, eighties and even their nineties. Shugoro Nakazato, Hanshi, founder of the Shorinkan is 96, and still practices his karate every day. (watch a video of Hanshi Nakazato from 1992 when he was 73 years old!)
In our dojo, we have two adult students in their forties, and our eldest student, Mr. Webb, will turn 60 this year. He did not start karate until he was 44. He noticed major changes in his health just a few months after beginning, even though he was taking classes only a once a week at that time. Some decade-old medical problems vanished because of the steady and invigorating karate workouts he was taking. When he realized what was happening, he became more serious about his practice. His doctors were very surprised, and none of the issues have returned, more than ten years later.
Self defense for adults is also an important aspect of martial arts. In February, our two guest instructors from South Africa conducted our regular classes and a special ladies self defense seminar. The class was open to all ages and skill levels, even to those who were not karate students. The younger children laughed as they practiced new defense drills. The adults were entertained and amused as they learned real life self defense for themselves and shared it with others. Everyone, no matter their age, went home with new skills and fond memories. Fun and fitness go hand-in-hand, and are key to the social development of all people.
Karate is not just for kids, it is for all ages. Leave your fears and apprehensions behind and just go for it!
If you’d like to start, please talk to me. We accept new students at any time. Our adult class is on Tuesday and Thursdays, from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. Here’s a picture of our class with our recent South African visitors. As you can see, we have students from young teens to older adults, and of all sizes. Join us!