Stiff and over 40……

This statement sounds good if you look at it one way (think about it)
But once you have removed your head from the gutter I will continue.
Suffering from a bad back for many years due to millions of bad falls and kicks and groundwork, getting squashed on a regular basis tends to hurt after awhile, I have come to the decision that I need to stretch more often.
I have not taken this decision lightly I have skirted around it and ignored it and even blatantly denied it! I have done all of the ‘special core training’ that people with no bad backs have recommended, not taking out of turn (and I don’t get out very much) BUT SOME OF THESE ROUTINES I COULD NOT EVEN GET INTO THE STARTING POSITION DUE TO MY BACK, LET ALONE DO THE ROUTINE.
So I have made the decision to listen to my body and not my mind because your mind messes with you, I will try to explain;
You have spent years training hard and mentally and physically conditioned until you become one stubborn bastard, you develop your mind to override your body, I say in my classes “your body is only 1/10 of you, your mental edge is 9/10 (most of the people I have taught are a bit mental)” You can train yourself to ignore tiredness, fatigue, pain, broken bones and general development of the fighting spirit, which is the Martial Way , is it not? Unfortunately it can be your downfall that never says die attitude could be doing you more harm than good.
In your twilight years of training not that I am over the hill but I have a great view from where I am standing!
The ego plays a huge part of this factor due to the young lions always wanting to test the skill and fighting prowess of the old lion, quoting the lion king “Oh I just can’t wait to be king” so even when you should not do it you jump in and roll around the floor or do a few rounds of kickboxing, what harm could it do, and you want to show these young guns there is still fight in the old lion; You also feel that if you can’t train with them that they won’t respect you anymore and to a degree I see that happening, some people won’t train with you if they can’t get a chance to fight with you! In my eyes a very strange but true fact of martial arts. Some people seem to love it if they can punch you or choke you (they can dine out on that one for weeks).
It is very hard as a martial artist to say take it easy or not go too hard because firstly it dents your ego, as if you can’t take it anymore and secondly it fuels the ego of others to a point that they think you have nothing more to teach them because you can’t ‘fight’ them. Sometimes this hurts because physically I am getting old and slow but have over 33 years of experience to pass on with the last 23 years as a full time professional. I have information that I have gathered like a martial nerd for over 3 decades, I might know more than you see when I limp into the gym to train/teach.
So I am putting my ego on the shelf and stretching more than doing massive heavy conditioning and lots of abs work as I have over done it in my core training making me too tight in my core where I need to be more flexible. It is a hard transition to make and I still get excited and join in conditioning, grappling and sparring when I know I should just watch; No-one is perfect!
My back is sore all of the time but my flex is getting better and I feel I am on the right track. I learned this by watching little Nev, our puppy, he climbs out of bed and has a stretch then turns over for a belly tickle then starts his day now I will do this every day apart from the tickling bit as I hate getting tickled!
Until next time
Don’t be stiff

John Atkin

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