Tae Kwon-Do After Age 45

Tae Kwon-Do's vigorous hand and foot movements exert pressure on the joints especially for the blocks and kicks. I am in my late forties and my joints tend to be more than mildly arthritic for sustained periods.

If you were to observe me swimming, playing football, and working in my backyard farm you would never guess that I could hardly move my right arm the night before.

From time to time I have sought balm in natural remedies such as cinnamon and honey as well as lemon juice. I have found that half lemon squeezed into a glass of water first thing in the morning to be quite effective but I am writing this in midsummer when lemon is out of season. By the way take care to remove those seeds or strain the juice into the glass. I try to substitute with lime but I don't get the same results.

Well back to the subject at hand. I am a beginning white belt and must attend classes twice per week to qualify for yellow stripe. I really appreciate the exercises and the exhilarating kicks and punches. Some instructors tend to push things the extra mile like a regular drill sergeant but after all Tae Kwon-Do is a military art, and when you apply yourself according to the tenets you really feel rewarded with confidence and improved fitness.

I have been besieged by inflamed joints especially those that were injured (usually because of incorrect form) during sparring. The injuries have become complicated by sustained arthritic inflammation (my diagnosis) which is causing very slow healing.

Furthermore my left wrist which has been arthritic for several years has worsened with the rainy weather; what this means is that whenever I execute say, the lower knife-hand block in saju maki, I have to withhold power in an effort to lessen the pain. Not to mention any of the middle blocks. The outer forearm middle block always ends in pain whenever that wrist is playing up.

The severity of the pain varies and I try to avoid anti-inflammatory medications for obvious reasons, side effects. A nagging pain at the ball of my left foot as well as in my left wrist has caused me to miss training at least once per week.



Why Tae Kwon-Do After Age 45?

I would prefer to give up arthritis than give up martial arts training.

You know as well as I do that it is virtually impossible to eliminate all the symptoms of arthritis, so the best I could hope for is to minimise the symptoms with both natural remedies and the occasional anti-inflammatory.

But why martial arts at such an arthritic age? Especially with my conservative religious lifestyle where some of my friends are warning me about the whole oriental mystique.

Simple really. You are in a system which offers outstanding physical fitness, discipline and motivation. Plus the bonus of useful martial art skills. And the best part is that my son is in the kids class so we get to practice together at home.

And for those concerned about the religious context, you have a genuine issue because martial arts must not be separated from the philosophy of the society.  Tae Kwon-Do is secular yet pays respect to certain great religious leaders and universal spiritual principles.

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