I am not the most fit guy in the world. I am about 40 pounds overweight but being “big boned” I hold it well. I can finish a 5K race in an adequate time and I can handle several rounds of sparring before I get winded. I can do my katas well (my jump side kick does need work). I can handle my techniques and I can demonstrate the moves to students. So does my excess weight matter? Yes, I believe it does.
This was driven home to me while watching TV with some friends. There is a show on television that details the preparations of people expecting civilization to fall. When watching it, one of my friends commented “How is that guy supposed to survive the end of the world when he can’t walk up the stairs without getting winded?” The guy on TV was an “expert” on surviving the end of the world, but looked like he was about to have a heart attack doing simple demonstrations of survival tasks. I am an “expert” on martial arts to my students. My excess weight, although not as extreme, sends the same message.
Weight is a sensitive subject. It can be difficult to remain fit, especially if you have a stressful, sedentary job with a lot of hours or if you have an injury. There are a lot of obstacles to getting fit but fitness is important for both instruction and image. I chide my students when they give up during calisthenics saying that I am doing the moves and I am old and fat. If I am going to be performing at the same level in 10 years, I need to make a decision to get over my weight loss obstacles now. I know that I am too sedentary, that I don’t stretch enough and that my diet could be better. Like a lot of people at the New Year, I made a commitment to do something about it and like 99% of other resolution makers, I let the opportunity pass me by. Thankfully, we don’t need to wait until New Year’s Eve to renew our resolution.
If you are going to be successful in achieving your fitness goals, you need to be honest with yourself and assess your fitness level.
Is your fitness level adequate to set a proper example for your students?
Will you be able to continue to train in 10 or 20 years if you stay on the path you are on now?
I see people get comfortable with being a little out of shape. Then years go by and fitness becomes less and less of a priority. This happened to me in my 30s and it has been a rough road back.
Having support on the journey is important. Make sure that you have partners and trainers that understand your needs and will actually be able to help you. Sometimes people who have been fit their whole lives don’t understand that there are obstacles to overcome to get fit and these obstacles are real and are not excuses. Getting fit is hard and there will be failures, but it can be done. I have a lot of friends in the fitness industry and I am going to work with them on integrating fitness more comprehensively into my martial arts routine and I will share the experiences with you.
Starting next month I will present videos on my fitness journey and will introduce you to some interesting fitness instructors. There are as many fitness styles as there are martial arts styles.
Hopefully as we explore martial arts and fitness, you will find something that works for you.
So is fitness important? Yes, I would like to continue my martial arts for decades to come. If I stay on the track I am now, I doubt that I would be able to keep the activity up at 60. So I will be working on my fitness, documenting my findings and will share the results with you. Stay tuned for the fitness videos and interviews. Hopefully, you will get some ideas to help you on your fitness journey.