Exercise is good for all ages, as is evident with the success of the Colorado Taekwondo Institute. I believe that there is a misconception among the general populace that you have to be “in shape” to even start a martial art, martial arts are too hard to learn, only young people can do it, and they would be embarrassed to exercise in front of other people. These are all misconceptions of not only martial arts but of exercise programs in general. Medicare has been promoting a no cost program for seniors learning martial arts at various health clubs and recreation centers and there is a fair amount of interest expressed for that particular program. However even with the backing of the government there are many that do not take advantage of the program. Again why?
I believe that most who do not participate do not see the advantages to regular exercise programs, do not participate long enough to develop friendships and a feeling of camaraderie and teamwork. That is a benefit of CTI that doesn’t happen when you are working out on your own or with a video.The support of staff, higher belts, fellow students, and family is a great motivator. To understand that is not just about physical exercise but mental exercise that conditions your whole self. It is also about character building and modification, for others to see and follow.
I had the very same misgivings when my family urged me to start again in Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo at the CTI. I knew I needed to exercise to maintain my physical abilities to perform my job or the hobbies and recreational activities of which I am fond. For me it is the physical activity, stretching, and mental focus that now appeal to me. It is the feeling of accomplishment that comes with each stripe and with each belt. It is the difference in performance that I can perceive and demonstrate outside of class by performing demanding physical tasks. It is knowing that I am attempting to maintain that sharp mental focus necessary to keep up with the demands of modern society. It means I can keep working if I need to or want to, and I can play with the grandchildren and help them experience life in the mountains. It is the feeling of family, teamwork, and friends at CTI that helps keep me motivated.
We cannot remain young no matter how hard we try. We can however make those years we have left more enjoyable and I believe we can make them last a bit longer by promoting a healthier lifestyle, especailly by martial arts for seniors. In my case I know that muscles will hurt and joints will ache regardless so I might as well be strong. There are many that will be put off by the realization that there will be some discomfort and will not subscribe to the “no pain, no gain” philosophy. There are no promises that it will be easy but we are going to become”experienced by time”. Let’s make the most of it!