Learning Martial Arts (Over 40)


What changes over 40?…

Have you ever heard the special forces slogan?…

“Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast”

The slogan is so simple that it’s easy to miss the power behind those 6 little words…

At its most basic level, it means that taking the time to do things right will get you faster results than trying to rush results for instant gratification.

And that’s is my mission when I train students in Systema at FightClub — to reveal the optimal path that may seem to take longer but that will get you the best and fastest results in the end. Because…

… well, I’m getting older too!

I just turn 49 in May (a couple weeks ago).

And although I’m probably fitter and stronger than I’ve ever been. I have accepted that I have to do things differently now than I did when I was 29 or even 39.

In fact, I wish I knew THEN what I know NOW. I realize that the changes I have been forced to make in my 40s would have made me so much better than I was in my 20s and my 30s.

I think everyone falls into the trap of thinking you can get to your goals faster just by working harder, or longer, or cutting corners.

We think going harder, doing more or learning a little “trick” will get us to our goals faster.

The reality is… it usually leaves you burnt out, injured or simply really good at doing something really poorly. (aka Crossfit).

In Crossfit, there are a handful of “prestige” skills that everyone wants to master.

One of them is called a butterfly pull-up. Done right, it’s a beautiful example of gymnastics-inspired body control.

There are basic positions and movement patterns that you have to master before you can do the movement properly and safely. Unfortunately, a lot of people rush into learning this movement before they learn those basics.

They take shortcuts and end up flailing around doing a movement that looks something like a butterfly pull-up but isn’t really.

Long story short… the best case scenario is they manage to work up to a limited work capacity with this stunted technique and they never progress anymore because they don’t have the foundation… Worst case… they end up with a shoulder injury. (That’s the most likely outcome actually)

On the other hand, the folks that take the time to work the basic positioning and movement drills may SEEM to take a long time before they actually start doing their first butterfly pull-ups. However just a few weeks later all of a sudden they are far outperforming all the folks who took the shortcuts.

In fact, shortcuts rarely turn out to be faster than doing things right. Think “crash dieting”, trying to build strength too quickly, or cramming for an exam. I could go on and on with examples.

However, the heart of the matter is that in most cases taking the road that seems longer – where you put the time in on the basics and take care to do things right – usually gets you to your destination a lot quicker in the end.

Remember: “Slow Is Smooth, Smooth Is Fast”…

By the way, the same applies to learning martial arts!


See SYSTEMA Martial Arts Training to learn more about training at FightClub.


401 Donlands Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada : 416-200-0200

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