Getting into marital arts as an adult
At the risk of blowing my own trumpet, as the saying goes, I feel quite qualified to write a piece comparing getting into martial arts as a child versus as an adult, as I have done both. Normally, one gets into something just once, but I that wasn’t quite my case.
When I was about seven or eight years old I was watching a lot of Jackie Chan films, not unlike other boys and girls my age. And as so often is the case with any film or show that children like I wanted to do the same kinds of things as Jackie Chan, so after much begging and pleading with my parents I was enrolled in some karate classes at my local dojo.
I really loved karate and advanced through the various colours of belts rather quickly. I wouldn’t call myself a natural exactly—to be honest, I wasn’t particularly good, but I practised very frequently and became somewhat obsessive about it—but I stuck with it for several years and ended up doing what I would consider to be a good job.
After a couple of years, I just seemed to lose interest when I was a teenager. It wasn’t until I was well into my 30s when I started taking up martial arts again and I have to say that it was a completely different experience from what I remembered.
Well, none of the core concepts of karate were new to me—surprisingly, I had remembered quite a lot from when I was a child—my body didn’t seem to have as good a memory as my mind. I really struggled with some of the basic moves at the beginning as it had been more than 20 years since I was involved with karate.
Not unlike my childhood experience however, I stuck with it and practised as much as I could (this time not watching Jackie Chan films but instead usually as exercise to some music) and eventually found my way back into the proverbial groove of karate.
What I learned, and this isn’t so much of a surprise, is that taking up a new hobby as an adult is extremely difficult when compared with doing so as a child and the simple lesson of succcess is perseverance.