I love getting e-how old to start weight training from Karate enthusiasts all over the world. In fact, I get them almost every day.
So, naturally, a couple of topics keep poppin’ up in the subject line from time to time. One of which I planned on dealing with right here, right now. I did Judo and Hapkido for a year but didn’t continue because of the distractions of school, etc. I’ve been at it for 4 months now and will be taking my first grading in a month or so.
I don’t really care much about belt colours because I figure at my age I probably will never reach black belt level. I’ve begun doing karate and kobudo. Anyway, I was just curious what your thoughts are on starting karate in one’s early 40s. Or is it just too late? You already know what I’m going to answer, dontcha? The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
But, to be completely honest, I’m not even the right guy to ask if we’re talking personal experience with starting Karate late, because, well, I’ve been training Karate for as long as I can remember. I do have a little bit of experience with teaching late bloomers. One thing most of them unfortunately seem to have in common is this nagging uncertainty. Am I too old to be doing this?
Certainly, when you look around at most Karate dojos of today and see these difficult punches and kicks, you get afraid. That’s not something a frail old adult should be doing is it? Sure, some crazy adults are doing it, but they must have some kind of death wish, right? I mean, logically, one can’t really expect to learn anything new at that age, can one? The brain fluid is too dry, nothing new can grow in there.
The limbs are too inflexible and the mind is too stale. If you recognize yourself in the above statement, you are not alone. So, by taking a quick look at some cold, hard, science I hope to help you understand. See, it’s all about understanding the motor homunculus. The reason you, as an adult, will most likely suck bad at any new fairly complex physical activity you undertake is because of a particular part of your brain known as the motor homunculus. It’s the very same bastard who won’t let you control your individual toes. Notice how overrepresented the hands, lips, and eyes are and how underrepresented the arms, legs, and feet are?
Basically, the more motor cortical area devoted to a region, the greater and finer the voluntary control over those muscles groups we have. No matter what age you are. A quick history lesson: originally the above map was created by Canadian neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield in 1937. Penfield was a dude who pioneered brain surgery on awake patients. He would use a small electrical stimulator to map out different parts of the brain, which is still done by neurosurgeons to this day.