June 22, 2022 (Texas)– On May 14, 2022, The American Taekwondo Association (ATA) held its first Senior Warrior Clinic for members over sixty years of age. Senior Master Laura Zant and Master Tony D’Angelo of Region 112 in Texas, guided students through a three-hour training clinic. Elements of the workout emphasized common sense training, warming up, innovative stretching, bag work, poomse (forms) practice, sparring, combat weapons sparring and passive stretching cool down. Music from the 60’s to the 80’s was incorporated into the workout. Afterwards, there was group discussion about the value of the training for students and the hope for senior clinics in all regions in the ATA and at Nationals and World Championship events. As a follow-up to the clinic, Master D’Angelo is working with several of the attendees on identifying and planning out their martial arts goals.
The ATA is committed to the needs of its students of all ages. They continually encourage seniors to train at a pace that works for them. Currently there are over 600 seniors training in the ATA. For seniors who still want to challenge themselves in competition, the ATA now has divisions for 60 – 69 students and 70+.
One of the goals of the ATA is to retain its senior students and encourage other seniors to try this type of workout. The mindset of many seniors is that they are too old to do something like this. In their younger days they may have been athletic but now that they are in their 50’s or 60’s, they believe that they can’t do what they used to do – nor should they. While many have common sense, it is not always used which results in injuries. Our focus is to start slow and continually improve. Exercise after 50 is essential for independence and a better quality of life as one ages.
As we get older, we lose muscle mass but we can rebuild it with exercise. Muscles burn more calories than fat which will offset your slowing metabolism. So what does exercise do for us? It will stop, delay, and sometimes improve serious illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and osteoporosis. It can also help your brain stay sharp. Generally speaking, the more you exercise, the more benefit you get. And anything is better than nothing.
There are many benefits seniors can achieve from a martial arts workout.
- Improve their quality of life both physically and mentally
- Gets them off the couch. Couch potatoes result in weaker muscle making it difficult to walk, get up, and maintain balance.
- Allows you to perform other activities that you once were able to do
- Builds strength which also leads to better motivation and more self-confidence
- Can help you sleep better
- Allows you to focus better (Where did I leave my keys? Why did I come into this room?) 😊
- May help to prevent dementia and other degenerative diseases
- Creates a new social environment. As seniors grow into their retirements, their friend circles tend to decrease over time. They are no longer going to work each day and seeing their co-workers on a regular basis. Taking martial arts classes gives them a chance to make new friends and build a community. People in martial arts classes share a common interest in the sport. They may all have joined for different reasons, but the outcome is the same. There are a multitude of exercises that involve partner and group activities. This builds teamwork and each person feels connected to the entire group. They all build a sense of camaraderie and hold each other accountable.
There are many events that the student can get involved in that are local, state-wide, and even nationally. Getting to know people who have the same interest and are around the same age is a great way to make friends and become socially active again.
At the end of the clinic, the students were asked for their feedback when doing another clinic. They all said that they would like to have more of these types of workouts since it gave them a chance to train with people their own age who face many of the same challenges. But to the surprise of the Masters, the attendees said that they would like the clinic to be longer. Evidently, it was a success!
A special thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Palmisano’s for hosting the clinic.
Palmisano’s Martial Arts
6708 Victoria Ave, College Station, TX 77845
For more information, please contact Master Tony D’Angelo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Master Tony D’Angelo & James Killingsworth