Getting in the Door: Why Karate’s So Good for Adults

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Getting in the Door: Why Karate’s So Good for Adults

Two women practice self-defense techniques.

Adults: Have you hit one of the evening (or Saturday morning) karate classes yet? No??? You’re missing out.

Whether you’re in high school, college, in your late twenties, your thirties, your forties or fifties, you need exercise to stay fit. All the more so, actually, as the years go on. Exercise with impact and duration. Regular, rigorous sessions that emphasize strength, movement and flexibility.

Oh and of course they’ve gotta be fun, create a feeling of camaraderie and make you feel like a million bucks (a million sore, worn out, hard-earned bucks)

You’ve probably guessed where this is heading. Karate’s fun and a crazy-good workout. But karate with your peers is an all-out blast. 

Man throws sidekick at opponent in a light-contact sparring match.

Comin’ in with a kick. Adult karate comes with higher stakes, higher rewards.

About her first adult sparring class, Shyla says simply, with a smile: “It was intense.” Shyla’s a high blue belt and mother of two students (one of whom outranks her). She came to last Tuesday’s class along with two other women (also mothers of students). None had been to Adult Sparring before. You could sense a kind of intimidation in their eyes, or rather the way they’d just avoid meeting your eyes. Like they didn’t want to stir up trouble. Like they’d like to let sleeping dogs lie.

But they’d shown up, thrown their gear down on a bench and pulled on chest guards, shin guards, helmets and hand pads. That’s the first (and most vital) step. The learning begins once you’ve walked through the door with the intention to rumble. It can’t begin when you’re just peering through the glass.

The difference between belt-level classes and adult classes is kind of like a family picnic versus a night with friends out on the town. There are different energies involved, a different focus. And a different sense of fulfillment.

The analogy isn’t perfect but it holds true. Belt-level classes, steeped in curriculum and character-building mat chats, are a rite of passage for the developing martial artist–and fun in their own right, especially with the kids. But adults (again, defined as high schoolers, Millennials, or humble parents) need a space to breathe and stretch and spar and sprint and learn to round kick with hyper-precision. A space all their own. To concentrate their abilities, to exorcise some of their own stresses, fulfill some of their own goals in the martial arts. 

Students of karate do pushups together.

Black belt push ups. It’s what for dinner.

“I hate to say it but I learned how unfit I was,” says Michelle, another first-time participant in last week’s adult sparring class. “The intensity, the focus on technique was awesome. I felt exhausted but amazing.”

Michelle will be back for tonight’s class. Care to join us? (We know you do.) Set up a sitter (or bring the kids and let them cheer you on for a change).

Check here for the full schedule of adult karate classes–Sparring, Curriculum, Conditioning and Technique. See you soon.

 

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