Sunday, October 08, 2006

Trapped in the Rank

There is a group - don't know exactly how big - of people like me. OK, who is "people like me"?, ...... Well, those of us who have started Kendo a bit late in life.

What is so Special about it?

There is not much special about it, maybe should I say, that we have had the courage to take the step, start walking the path and stick to it, however, there is a small reality that, sooner or later, it will affect all of us.

Most of the new beginners of my age, are either, just starting, with no rank, or anywhere between Ikkyu and Shodan, that means that we cannot skip the physical mill that the 18 years old have to endure and go through.

This simple fact, if not properly managed, will backfire. For example, I still not fully recovered from a knee injury, caused for countless sonkyo suburi done at a summer camp one year ago.

In some ways, there is some breeze of change. There are, despite slow and a bit resisted, some groups of senseis that have keiko for players 60 years old and above. There is no crazy physical stuff, just pure jigeiko, and a real good one.

Indeed, even if a group is created for players 50 years old and above, we should have to face players ranked anywhere from Godan to Hachidan, but hey!, it will be a healthy beat up!

Now, getting back to the original point. It is extremely important then, not to get trapped on things your body cannot do, or, things you know it will hurt you. Somehow, we need to adapt to wherever is being throw to us, and having always in mind the fact that our career in Kendo can stand longer than in any other Martial Art or sport but, only if we have the means to avoid injury.

Having these facts into consideration then, Kendo will stick to us for a long long time.

Have fun at keiko!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Stretch, Stretch & Stretch More

Stretching our muscles is the key to avoid injuries. It is applicable to all ages but, way more important when your body starts to age.

Achilles Tendon is one of the most common injuries that happen in Kendo, and we have to pay particular attention to it. Never ever rush your warm ups, and most importantly, you pay attention to those areas of the body that are more prone to give up.

Shoulders are also important, since they are a very important part that we use in our daily Kendo.

I will be attaching a link at the end of this message, where some warm up strategies and exercises for older people are explained with great detail.

When enough is not Enough

A common mistake is to rush into the dojo, get into your Kendo gear and start the Taiso right away. That it is simply Wrong.

We spend, normally, an average of 10 minutes - tops - warming up, do you think is that enough?, well, short answer, no, it is not.

Young people can get away with such short warm up, older people cannot.

What is then what we have to do?, pretty simple.......

  • Stretch your body during the day, doesn't matter if you are at the office, there is plenty of exercises you can do to stretch your arms, calves, hips, etc., in just a couple of minutes. and remember, none of your managers can say anything against it, since they allow employees (and themselves) to have 5 minute break to smoke for example, so, you just do what you have to do.
  • Get to the Dojo earlier, so you can do your own warm up at your own peace, focusing on those areas that need more attention.

  • Stretch slowly and consistently, and remember, we are not longer 18, we have to play our own game.

  • As usual, if you have a medical condition, you first have to seek advise from you doctor so, do not believe on my words just blindly, I am a guy who tries to learn from my own mistakes, and believe me, I am plenty of experience in wrong doing :-)

    Here is the site, supported by NASA.