Martial Arts – What Are You Looking For?
You can tell by watching for about a minute that some martial arts are primarily for the young at heart, and more importantly for the young, strong, tough and flexible of body. These are the sport arts that, while beautiful and lots of fun, tend to Sports art
attract mostly children and young people under about age 25. If a holistic path is taken, sport arts can be practiced into senior years, as evidenced by Jhoon Rhee and others of his ilk, who in their 60s and 70s can still do 100 push ups in under a minute. In the sport arts, he and his cronies are the exception to the rule.
When choosing a martial arts style or school, think about what you want for your life (or for your children). If you want a sport karate or tae kwon do school that focuses on tournament competition, be sure to ask questions that get you the answers you need before enrolling in a program. If external strength/muscles and winning trophies are primarily what you are looking for, this may be your best choice.
If tournaments and sparring competition are not your thing, you may wish to find a holistic “jutsu”, or combat art school. The best of these schools combine traditional form and technique with progressive integration of new ideas. The ancient masters were very strong and limber, physically speaking, but also practiced internal exercises and a gradual form of strengthening and toughening that spared the joints, toned muscles and internal organs, and allowed the practitioner to engage in amazing physical, mental and spiritual endeavors throughout his/her lifetime.
People of all levels of physical fitness and ability can benefit from the practice of a balanced kung fu style. You don’t have to be Jet Li to practice martial arts. If you are like most people, the style you choose should help you feel successful enough that you will not get frustrated and quit, but should challenge you enough to keep your interest. Some people want that challenge primarily in the area of fitness, so that a good workout is enough for them. Some prefer mental stimulation – a complex art that keeps the intellect piqued – along with physical development.