How late in life can you leave this?

Discussion in 'Karate' started by KarateMum, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. KarateMum

    KarateMum Valued Member

    Hi Folks, I'm new on the block so please go easy with me.

    I was slowly dying of inactivity in an office chair. I've been there 10 years. Two weeks ago this 46 yr old, relatively unfit and too short for my weight mum joined a Karate class. Why? Well I couldn't see myself bouncing around in an aerobics group with 20 other women and this seemed like a new skill to learn, i.e. as something to do it has 'purpose'. I've never even read about martial arts up until two weeks ago, so I am a complete and utter newbie. At the moment I am at the 'just walked in off the street stage'. Feeling awkward with every move and trying hard not to be a burden on the class, who will surely want to do more complicated things than work with me, although I must admit they don't let me see or hear this for which I am very grateful.

    I'd love to hear from other 'later starters' in martial arts and to know how long it took you to start to feel comfortable with being in the class and if you think I stand a chance of learning this new skill at my age. Any hints and tips would be great too NB. My Sensei and the others in my dojo are being really nice to me, but I still feel rather inwardly awkward at the moment.
  2. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    I wasn't a late starter, but I have trained with them and taught them.

    I can tell you that this:

    "trying hard not to be a burden on the class, who will surely want to do more complicated things than work with me, although I must admit they don't let me see or hear this for which I am very grateful" unlikely to be true.

    I think you don't see or hear it because they don't think that way. I've found people generally love helping others in class, and I'm sure after you've been training a year and see new beginners join you'll be just as genuinely patient and happy to help.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014
  3. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    Welcome to MAP, and David's right :)

    Get stuck in, enjoy yourself and listen to your body as you progress to avoid injury.

    Keep going like that and it'll be a pleasure to have you in class as well as a pleasure for you to be there.

  4. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Psssst...just a little secret between you and me...I've done martial arts for years and still feel like that. :)
    Don't tell anyone around here though...they think I know what I'm on about.
    At 41 I've just started Judo (a martial art I've not done before) and it is hellishly complicated.
    But the thing is...that feeling of awkwardness is kind of a good thing. It means we're working on something we can't do. As you mentioned you could be in an aerobics class and getting comfortable with things really quickly.
    But with martial arts there's always something to improve or work on.

    Absolutely. So long as you don't try and compare yourself to others and make progress on your terms it'll all be good.
    The thing with martial arts is that it's an endless journey. The learning of the skill IS the thing rather than some abstract goal.
    Just by taking a class and getting involved you are learning this new skill.
  5. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Also, everyone feels inwardly awkward when learning new skills. At any age.

    As for time, you should begin to feel comfortable with some basics after 3 months. After a year you should feel like you're really starting to "get it".

    Everyone has their sticking points and things that come more quickly to them. The funny thing is, they only see what others are better at than them, and never what they are better at than others.
  6. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Welcome to MAP.

    As an instructor I can tell you we like people like you.

    Keen, willing to turn up each week and no pre-conceived notions.

    Existing students also like keen newbies.

    Keep going, that's the secret.

    Get over that initial 4-6 week period and you'll be hooked.

    Good luck.
  7. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    I took a huge break from martial arts and got back into training in my Late 30s (is that old enough to quailfy?). I even took up capoeira. I can't really give you any advice (im too dumb) but I don't think anyone cares about your age or ability, they are too busy worrying about themselves, martial artists can be delicate little flowers.

    You're not a burden on the class. Young beginner or old beginner, both are beginners and need help deveoping their do advanced students. Everyone's there for similar reasons and in the same boat, just at a different point in their journey.

    (I'd say you even get a lot of respect from the young uns in the class. I honest think a lot of the young students will look at you and think, "I hope i'm like them and still training in X years").

    As for developing your skills...of course you can, but you have to be realistic with your goals. It might be a little harder and slower but you can still learn. You'll probably never be the best in the club or win an MMA fight, but you'll be better at martial arts than the person that went to the Jane Fondue workout class. I doubt i'll ever do a back flip in capoeira, but there's a whole bunch of other stuff to learn, it'll be the same with your Karate.

    I don't think I've answered your questions there, but...
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014
  8. Rhythmkiller

    Rhythmkiller Animo Non Astutia

    Welcome to MAP and don't let the late starter idea drag you down. I was a late starter and starting to "realise" my potential and that "I" can do that. Give it time and you think the same way.

    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014
  9. robertmap

    robertmap Valued Member

    Welcome to MAP - sadly I'm late to this party and all the good advice has been given - except maybe... HAVE FUN :)
  10. KarateMum

    KarateMum Valued Member

    Many thanks everyone. I like the concept that everyone is working towards improvement/learning something new that is offered above. Simon I have absolutely no pre-conceived notions whatsoever!! LOL I do tend to be very open-minded at learning something new and tend to try to do whatever I am asked without question. I believe and trust in my Sensei and the other senior belts (is that the right term?) there to be able to show me what I need to learn and I know they have loads of experience so I am in good hands.

    What I need to do is to get to grips with all these new words and actions. I hadn't even considered that it would all be in a different language before I first walked through the doors. Not only have I got to learn, for example, how to do a 'right handed punch' I get no clues from the instruction that it is going to be a 'right handed punch' as it has it's proper name assigned to it and as beginner this means nothing to me! This makes the learning process subtlety more difficult than things I have tried previously, though I have to say it does add to the interest. :)
  11. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    That is a point of contention in martial arts. Some instructors don't see the point in teaching in a non-native language and have dropped the terminology.
  12. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    It's people like you in martial arts that I admire most. For me at this stage, I train to get better, but my reasons are more selfish, I want to fight and compete. I personally think it is much more difficult for those who aren't required to do the work to motivate themselves than it is for fighters. For this reason I admire people who train regularly with no aspirations of competition.

    Hopefully Belltoller jumps on this thread soon, he posted something excellent only yesterday on the same subject.

    Best of luck :)
  13. narcsarge

    narcsarge Masticated Whey

    Welcome to MAP! As you have seen with the people that have responded, most people in any martial art are willing to help and assist new students. No matter what age we started we were all 'new'. I trained in my early 20s and left until I was 45. Took up Tae Kwon Do. An art with way more movement then my initial Shotokan karate classes. Also, had to learn Korean. Now, @ 52 years of age. I am entertaining the idea of judo or jujitsu. So you see, no matter where we are in life, we are all new to something.

    I love the idea that you started because you wanted a purpose for your training rather then being another gym rat! Good for you! I have fancied martial arts and swimming as 2 forms of exercise that can save your life. Again, welcome to the site!
  14. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    Today is always just in time and tomorrow is always too late.
  15. FunnyBadger

    FunnyBadger I love food :)

    Lol the language thing is tricky at first but you will soon pick up what you need to know, I did am I'm linguisticaly challenged. Weirdly that is one the best things about learning traditional arts, you learn things other than just how to beat people up :)

    As has been said above sounds like to have a great attitude to your training and plenty of enthusiasm so I'm sure you'l do fine. Just enjoy it and get stuck in and soon enough youl be wishing there were more classes each week and wondering what you did with your evenings before.
  16. KarateMum

    KarateMum Valued Member

    I know I've got to learn some separate movements first, but the group also spends time doing Kata's and encourages everyone to join in. I'm currently on my umpteenth run through of Pinan Nidan on YouTube to at least know which way I'm meant to be facing!!!

    I think I should be getting hold of a Gi this week so at least I will blend in rather than being in my gym gear. I'll have to practice trying the knot correctly! Jeffgau apparently there is a second class, but I have been advised to first just do half the first class until I get a bit fitter, and then when I can cope with the whole first class I can think about the second. So there is a fair bit of scope for more time in class. The big issue currently is a distinct lack of fitness. These office chairs are killers!!!

    NB. It's very difficult to do it from You Tube when the demonstrator is facing you!!!
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014
  17. FunnyBadger

    FunnyBadger I love food :)

    If you have a lap top try putting the screen next to a mirror? That way you can see yourself from the same angle as the video clip :) yeah fitness is an issue for a lot people when the first start. It come with effort and time and soon enough you'l be where you need to be :)
  18. Anth

    Anth Daft. Supporter

    Though not a newbie, I started at a new club doing a slightly different style earlier in the year so I have some of the beginner problems that many face, including learning names and kata. One thing that helps me is having a notepad in my bag and having a copy of the grading syllabus that I can write all over.

    In my notepad, I try to write things that I'm doing wrong (or more like "differently") in kata so that, when I come to practice between sessions, I can just look at the notes. I've got a couple of kata written in my own terms (instead of "hidari gedan barai, zenkutsu datchi," for example, it's "left foot out ~3', front knee bent, back leg straight, feet shoulder-width apart, right hand acts as a marker out in front but downwards, left fist comes to right ear then right hand comes back to hip as left hand blocks down, finishing roughly fist distance above left leg.") which ends up being long-winded but stops me wondering what I was trying to say in the first place. I try to get kata wrote down as soon as possible after the session because I know I'll have forgotten it by the time I get home!

    In the syllabus, I make notes in pencil so, as I progress, I can edit my notes. It's just short tips like "remember back hand" that will probably become second nature in years to come but it stops me forgetting it or translations into "Anth-speak".

    Fitness is one of those things that comes with time - just taking up an activity will improve your fitness more than staying in the office chair and in a year or so you'll look back and think of the change.

    Don't worry about feeling awkward - we've all been there! I recently took up bouldering (that has it's own vocab that seems even odder than the Japanese I had to learn for karate and aikido) and I watch people hanging onto walls and climbing things that my brain says physics shouldn't allow, and then the bairns do the same bits while I'm struggling to even stay on the holds for two seconds before falling off. I watch the videos and wonder how the heck I'm ever going to get to that level. Then I realise that I've just managed one of the climbs that I couldn't manage last week and that I've still got enough in the tank for another few climbs and that, many years ago, these "naturals" were probably in my boat cursing themselves for stupid mistakes so hopefully in years to come I'll be at their level.
  19. ArthurKing

    ArthurKing Valued Member

    Started at 40, black belt at 48, hope to be starting my own class in coming year. Wish I had continued when I first started in my youth (hips are starting to protest so now I try to punch better)!
    Take a hint from KT Tunstall- DISREGARD YOUR LIMITATIONS.
    Enjoy training, if you do the work, you'll get the skills.
    Pob lwc (good luck)!
  20. matveimediaarts

    matveimediaarts Underappreciated genius

    I'm sort of a late starter (started at 30-ish). I took a few krotty lessons in grade school, but lost interest after first grading. Got back into MA a few years ago just for fun and fitness. It only took me a few weeks to get into it.

    WRT awkwardness, you're going to feel that for as long as you study MA with a good sensei, so get used to it. :hat:

    Since you do a kata-heavy style, I recommend taking lots of notes and videotaping your sensei doing the kata if possible. I learned kata better when my sensei gave me bunkai application, so ask for that if your sensei doesn't teach it already.

    Hope this helps.

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