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50 Years Old & What Art Should I Take?

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    50 Years Old & What Art Should I Take?

    I just turned 50. I've quit smoking, walk about 6 miles a day,yet chronic back stiffness. I also had problems with a dislocated shoulder years ago. I want to finally learn how to defend myself (I was mugged in January).

    Question: I'm considering either a) Judo b) Boxing c) Muay Thai d) Brazilian JJ. Which art(s) would you recommend and why?

    BTW: I just had a thorough exam, and doc says I'm: in pretty good health.

    #2
    I would recommend any of those, plus yoga for the back.

    It's important to remember that martial arts is not the same as self-defense. It can give you unarmed-combat skills of some sort, but self-defense is a much broader set of skills.
    What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. -Xenophon's Socrates

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      #3
      At a boxing gym I used to go to there were a couple of 45-48 year old guys. Mostly they avoided some of the heavy conditioning stuff but other then that they seemed to like it just fine. I don't know if any of this helps you or not though as I think that they were there because they enjoyed it and wanted to get back into shape instead of SD applications.

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        #4
        For BJJ you'll want to be aware of how your previously dislocated shoulder is feeling, but you'll really have to do that for any art you choose. I suggest either earth slamming (judo), or BJJ. But any of the ones on your list would do. You should check the schools in your area, see if they have a free intro class, and attend.

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          #5
          The shoulder dislocation may be a consideration. Even when reduced and healed, the ligaments supporting any joint won't be 100% as stable (and stabilizing) as they were before a dislocation. This means that torsion (pulling-and-twisting) injuries to that shoulder may come more often--and be more serious--than, say, impingement or other impact-related injuries. The former tend to be more common in grappling, the latter more common in striking.

          However, if your MD has given you a green light, one striking and one grappling art would give you a well-rounded set of unarmed self-defense skills. The emphasized word is there because your SD requirements may indicate other bases that need covering.

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            #6
            If self defense is your primary concern then guns are your answer.

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              #7
              I personally know a guy who took up BJJ in his late 40s and achieved his purple belt by the age of 51 with consistent training and regular competition in the master's division (and yoga to help him keep limber). When I first met him (at a wing chun class) in his mid 40s, he had a bit of a beer gut. When he's in competition shape for BJJ now, he has 6 pack abs.

              I have never heard of anybody taking up a striking art as a complete newcomer at that age and starting a competition career though. Maybe I'm just misinformed, and there are dudes out there taking up Muay Thai or Boxing at 50 and then winning their first match by knockout a year later, but I'm not sure if your body is as resilient to sudden impacts at that age even Rocky got wtfpwned until his opponent screwed his hand up. If you aren't interested in competing or sparring hard, I'm sure some boxercise type exercise will do you no harm.
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                #8
                Congrats on quitting smoking--you obviously have some willpower.

                For striking, I would suggest boxing in preference to Muay Thai because I believe that the risk of injury will be somewhat less. Muay Thai requires you to support all of your bodyweight with one leg while kicking, and your crafty opponent may kick that leg at that very moment. I also believe that there is a greater chance of turning an ankle or some toes in Muay Thai than in boxing (go shoes!).

                For grappling, I would suggest jiu jitsu in preference to judo, also to reduce the risk of injury. In judo, you would be thrown repeatedly every class into the mat with varying levels of force depending on your partner's skill, control and size. Jiu jitsu emphasizes ground fighting over throws and takedowns, and allows one to tap to (hopefully) slowly increasing pressure; to the best of my limited knowledge, judo throws require a minimum level of force and speed to be successful.

                On the other hand, if your only goal is to defeat a mugger in future, judo is faster to apply, and would allow you to return to your feet very quickly since the guy would likely be knocked out by contact with concrete backed up by the planet Earth at surprisingly great speed.

                Likewise, the addition of knees, elbows and feet to my arsenal would make Muay Thai my choice if there was a strong possibility that I would have to fight for my life one day.

                For me personally, continued ability to train is high on my list of priorities because I would get fat again and irritable if I had to stop for more than a week.

                As the posters above have noted, unarmed combat is only one part of self defense. Check out "Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" by Rory Miller if you have not already read it.

                Best of luck with your decisions.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by Lefthook123 View Post
                  I just turned 50. I've quit smoking, walk about 6 miles a day,yet chronic back stiffness. I also had problems with a dislocated shoulder years ago. I want to finally learn how to defend myself (I was mugged in January).

                  Question: I'm considering either a) Judo b) Boxing c) Muay Thai d) Brazilian JJ. Which art(s) would you recommend and why?

                  BTW: I just had a thorough exam, and doc says I'm: in pretty good health.
                  Are these all available in your area or will you have to travel? What frequency? How intense are the classes? What the instructors like? What are the students like? Is there any specific class which appeals to you?

                  Don't left age deflect you. Congrats on giving up smoking and walking 6 miles a day. It's all learning curve anyway but consider doing the art which appeals most to you. There's no be-all and end-all. Treat it as a hobby but attend regularly and supplement with your walking.

                  No more than 3 times a week with a day off between training sessions. Remember sometimes you get Delayed Muscle Strain 48 hours AFTER training. This can catch you out.

                  It's a marathon not a sprint. Don't worry if you think you're too old...you could become the wise man in the corner - a repository of knowledge.

                  It should be enjoyable and may bring other options, social, friendship etc.

                  Good Luck.

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                    #10
                    ... I would take up abstract art...or maybe water painting.

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                      #11
                      Go start judo.

                      At your age you don't have time for years wasted in _____(insert compliant art here).

                      Congratulations on making it to the 1/2 century mark.
                      Carter Hargrave's Jeet Can't Do

                      http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=31636

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                        #12
                        Boxing. Older guys just look bad ass boxing in a way they don't when rolling, tripping, throwing, kicking, or submitting guys. Like Edward James Olmos in BSG...

                        Plus, it will still work for you in 20 years.

                        Just sayin'...

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                          #13
                          1point2, Word,Gene,Vieux,Cullion,Chenz, Ulysses,and Joe: Thanks for your knowledgeable and insightful advice; You've helped me make up my mind. I'm going to go with Judo and Boxing (after I take an intro class). You fellas are the best!!
                          Last edited by Lefthook123; 8/30/2009 3:47pm, . Reason: misspelling and omission

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                            #14
                            My bad, I meant to say Chenz (not chez)- Lol.

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                              #15
                              Judo has the additional benefit of teaching you how to fall less painfully, something that sucks more and more each year that passes. My break falls are still closer to break fails, but it is one area in judo that I've been able to make measurable progress. For the rest of it I'm pretty much just going along for the ride.

                              I'm not 50 yet - I'm 37 in a couple months - but I am really glad so far that I took up MAs again. Things do hurt, and they take more time to heal than they did when I was younger, but I think it's probably good for the soul. Invest in some liniment, some neoprene wraps for your joints, and some good ice packs - this would be my advice.

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