6 Training Tips For Middle Aged Martial Arts Rookies

0 Posted by - June 15, 2024 - Training, Wisdom

Martial arts are for everyone. That includes people of every age.

The AWMA Blog loves to celebrate the achievements of older martial artists and talk about the benefits of training later in life. Participating in martial arts in middle age and beyond can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health. It can improve your balance and overall situational awareness to help prevent falls — and teach you how to land to reduce the overall impact on your body if you do fall. Martial arts training is also a great way to make friends and build community, which aren’t always easy things to do as you get older. 

And the best news is that you can enjoy all of these amazing benefits even if you haven’t been consistently participating in martial arts all along. It’s never too late to start training martial arts — or start again.

That said, just because you can take up martial arts training at any age doesn’t mean that you can train exactly as you would have if or when you were younger. Our bodies and minds change over time, which means the way that we approach both the physical and mental aspects of martial arts training need to evolve, too. 

Here are six tips to help you get the most out of your martial arts training over 40. 

Don’t skimp on the protective gear. 

You’re not too old to try new things, but you might be getting to an age where you need to be more thoughtful about your approach. Your joints, bones, and soft tissue have a little more mileage on them now, and you might want to take the extra steps to avoid putting unnecessary stress on them. If your martial arts or combat sport involves any striking, get yourself a few pairs of handwraps and learn how to wrap them in a way that will give you maximum protection and comfort. Your hands and wrists will thank you. 

If you’re grappling and have any past injuries in your joints — or feel any imbalances or instability at all — protective gear like knee pads and ankle sleeves can help you feel more comfortable and more grounded during training and sparring. 

Treat yourself. 

As we get older, we sometimes let practicality get in the way of our enjoyment. So you might find yourself thinking that that you don’t need anything more than a basic uniform or old workout clothes. If it’s within your budget, though, you might want to consider something a little fancier. Investing in a higher end martial arts gear like heavy weight uniforms, leather boxing gloves, and sport-specific clothing like shorts and rash guards can benefit your training in many important ways. Good martial arts gear can help improve your confidence and make you feel like you belong. It can end up being more cost effective in the long run, because it’s more durable and will last longer. And it might even help to motivate you if you if you tell yourself you can’t quit before you get your money’s worth.

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.

If you have history of training, that includes not competing against your younger self. Comparison really is the thief of joy when it comes to taking up martial arts in your later years. You are going to train with a number of people who are younger than you, and some of them will have a youthful advantage over you. They might have more energy, recover quicker, and pick some things up more easily than you do. Some of the people your age might also have certain advantages, including more years of knowledge and practice. There might also be some things you do better than some of your training partners of any age, but you’ll probably be more fulfilled if you don’t dwell on them either.

You’re on a different path. That doesn’t mean that you’re wrong or behind. Celebrate your own journey and your own achievements without worrying about what anyone else is doing. And if you really need to compare yourself to someone, try the person you were before you started training. Just by taking the leap and putting in the effort, you’re already kicking that person’s butt. 

Pace yourself and don’t be a hero.

Ideally, no martial artist at any age should be pushing themselves beyond their limits. But it becomes especially important to listen to our bodies and push ourselves a responsible amount as we get older. You will enjoy your training a lot more, learn more, and feel better if you’re not always run down or injured. 

Give yourself some credit.

Trying new things is a big deal — and it can become even more daunting as we get older. So give yourself a pat on the back for being bold enough to try. Celebrate all of your victories along the way. That includes obvious ones like belt promotions and tournament wins. But it should also make room for the smaller moments like the first time a technique makes sense, reaching a breakthrough in your sparring, or even having the courage to sign up for a tournament at all. It’s not cheesy or childish to get excited about stuff like this. Every single one of those moments is an accomplishment, and you should be proud of all of them.

Have fun.

Time becomes more precious as the years go by. Don’t waste them doing something that you can’t allow yourself to enjoy. Some things we do for our health can feel like a chore, but martial arts training doesn’t have to be one of them. Training is cool. It’s a good time. Soak it all in.