Most people associate the word “martial arts” with either an extremely hard or an extremely agile sport. And yes, martial arts, martial arts and self-defense involve both hardship and agility – but none of that is an extreme burden, and most of all, none of this is confined to the offspring. “But martial arts is just for boys …” – wrong!
More and more people over 60+ are discovering the passion for martial arts, even though they have never had anything to do with karate, jiu-jitsu or self-defense before. Many are looking for an interesting and challenging alternative or supplement to Nordic Walking or senior gymnastics and find much more:
- Brand new physical and mental challenge
- Training with high added value for everyday life
- Many friendships across age limits
Which martial arts are particularly suitable for seniors?
In general, most martial arts are easy to learn at any age. Children have mobility advantages, adults have good mentality, and seniors in particular have an experienced perspective, often showing great ambition and patience and endurance, which is less common among younger people. In particular, Jiu-Jitsu and self-defense are popular martial arts in people over 60, as the techniques are based on the natural human reactions, thereby easily convey new patterns of movement and also very specific to self-defense. Karate and kickboxing are also suitable for “late entry”, with karate more emphasizing complex coordination, while kickboxing places greater emphasis on stamina and strength endurance.
Positive effects of martial arts, especially for seniors, are the strengthening of bones and ligaments, as well as the practice of concentration and combination of physical and mental skills. In addition, full-body training also enhances mental well-being, the newly acquired skills increase self-confidence, and working with various training partners strengthens contact and communication skills.
Seniors Only Class?
Most reputable teachers will posses the teaching concept that relies on mixed groups where everyone can learn from and with others. This means: men and women, beginners and advanced, younger and older adults train together. This benefits in particular beginners, who can practice with many different partners and additionally learn from advanced in direct contact. But even for the advanced, the diversity is good, because they naturally grow into a group structure in which one helps one another and is not only concerned about one’s own performance. The coaching teams make sure that they are promoted according to their potential and make the most individual progress possible. Another big advantage of mixed group structures is that each and everyone can progress at their own pace.