beginner (again)

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#1 Fri, 12/25/2015 - 3:29pm
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beginner (again)

Greetings,

I am happy to be part of this forum and hope to benefit from those who post. I began training in Pai Lum Kung Fu 3 years ago, at the age of 61. I am the oldest student at the kwoon, and I must say, at the beginning, most of the warm ups severely challenged me, but I have hung in there and will try to do my best.

I was initially introduced to Kung Fu (wing chung) back in 1981 and trained for about a year in that form. In 1983 I was introduced to Pai Lum Kung fu and remained a student for about 2 years before drifting off. Now, after about a 27 year hiatus I returned back. Next month will be my third year anniversary, but I plan to stay with it this time. I find the low stances to be very challenging, but will do my best in hopes of learning them. Any suggestions for a 64 year old (return) beginner? Thanks.

Edited by: Hashim on 12/25/2015 - 3:31pm
Fri, 12/25/2015 - 3:47pm
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Welcome to The Dragon's List,

Welcome to The Dragon's List, Hashim!  Pai Lum is a great style.  I have sent you a private message.

Fri, 12/25/2015 - 11:32pm (Reply to #2)
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Greetings to all Dragon’s

Greetings to all Dragon’s List members, martial artists, and students,

I am a new member of Dragon’s List; aside from my introduction, this is my first post. I am a 64 year old martial arts student; I study Pai Lum Kung Fu, and this January marks my three year anniversary.  I readily admit that the training has been challenging, but extremely rewarding. For those of you who have resumed training after a long break, or are just beginning your journey, I’d like to share some of the experiences and challenges I encountered during my first year or so of training.

I vividly remember my first day, after the preliminary warm ups, which consisted of jumping jacks (side straddle hops) and pushups, we were required to do sit ups.  After the third or fourth rep, I silently asked myself, “What the hell am I doing here”?  I completed the warm ups, and was given my first lesson, the formal salutation. I met a few of the senior students and vowed to return for the next class.

I did return, and started my six week introductory period; I felt overwhelmed by the amount of work but was resigned to keep at it; at 6’1, I weighed about 240 pounds, and had been sedentary for several years. I figured it was either now or never, so I kept at it and consistently attended the school three times a week.  I often thought the warm ups were far too difficult, and questioned the “rationale” behind a 60 plus year old man doing jumping jacks and pushups.  I reasoned that just walking from my car to the kwoon was enough of a warm up, but I continued to train, unwilling to “give up”.  Also, one of the senior students mentioned something to me that I will probably always remember. He said, there were often times when he didn’t feel like attending class, but there was never a time he regretted the training.  And he was right! I often felt the same way, and now, as I complete my third year, I often look forward to the training.

My primary obstacles include limited flexibility, but I have begun to stretch daily, and it’s beginning to make a huge difference.  I also have difficulty getting into some of the low stances and remaining there, but I work on it and try to increase my previous attempts. My endurance is clearly not that of a 20 year old, but what I lack in stamina, I make up for in will power.  Perhaps my biggest challenge was psychological, I actually had a fleeting moment of insanity when I doubted myself, but that was quickly put to rest. One of the sifu’s told me that 61 was a “good age” to begin training in kung fu! That’s all I needed to hear, his words were encouraging, and probably just what I needed.

Now,  here  I am; just a few weeks short of my three year anniversary. The training is still challenging, but I have adapted to the routines, and I have a major goal I wish to accomplish, the prestigious Black Belt, or, “First Higher Level”. Furthermore, I am still employed full time, and I am also at the half way mark in completing my doctorate. Never-the-less, training has become an integral part of my life. No one ever said it would be easy.  Booker T Washington is quoted as saying, “nothing of value comes, except as a result of hard work”. I agree.

Hashim 

Wed, 12/30/2015 - 9:31am
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Awesome Hashim, keep up the

Awesome Hashim, keep up the training! I tell my 14 year old lady that movement is the key (she was born with juevenile rheumatoid arthritis) so that is the single best part of advice I can give you next to stretching. Sounds to me like you are better off than most 20 somethings!

Fri, 01/01/2016 - 8:31am (Reply to #4)
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Greetings Featherstone, Thank

Greetings Featherstone, Thank you for the feedback.

When I  first resumed my training I actually was only concerned with "getting into shape" and wasn't focused on making it a part of my routine. Adjusting to the rigorous warm ups took quite some time and I began to question if I was willing to sacrifice so much. I actually visited a different martial arts school to sample their system and hoped to "escape" some of the warm ups that were taking such a toll on my body. The school I visited taught Aikido; I found it "interesting" but couldn't see myself rolling around and being slammed on the floor in my 60's, so I continued to focus on Pai Lum. 

This month marks my third year anniversary, and I feel very committed to the art. My 28 year old son also trains with me; this makes the training even more interesting. Rather then "compete" against others, I find that my greatest challenge is to challenge myself, and to push my body to achieve things I had not previously considered. I look forward to training and typically train 3-4 times each week.

Wed, 01/06/2016 - 6:22am
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Respect,

Respect, at 49 and a 1/2  I am begining to apreachiate that getting old is not for whimps.  But at the same time I have found that the older I get, the better my kung fu has become. It is  much harder to "cheat" on technques by using muscle strength or fexibility.  I have to get the technique correct instead. 

Do you practice chi gung with your kungfu? I find it helps to maintain both strenght and flexibility. 

Sun, 01/10/2016 - 10:03pm
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Greetings Tombayley,

Greetings Tombayley,

Thank you for your comments. You are correct about getting the technique down pat; I agree it's important to focus on correct form and not try to depend on muscle strength.

One of my biggest challenges involves flexibility, but I am spending more time with stretches to overcome this. As for your question, yes, we do chi gung; it's part of the Pai Lum system. I should probably pay more attention to this as well.

Mon, 01/11/2016 - 2:04pm
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chi gung

There are different sorts of chi gung, some sorts often included in kung fu systems are aimed more at conditioning for fighting - e.g the iron wire system in hung kuen. others are aimed at more broad spectrum health and fitness. My mother for example has been doing wild goose chi gung for about 5 years at 82 she can balance on one foot better than I can. In fact the only reason I don't practice wild goose is that it is on the same night that I teach and I can't get to the lessons. 

As I get older I concentrate much more on the chi gung side of my kung fu. I am particularly lucky because their is sooo much to the iron wire form in hung gar.