I am trying some new things.
I've started attending a new martial arts school. I'm adding some basic weight training to my exercise regime. I want to see how these changes affect my health and my skills and enjoyment in martial arts.
My old school is terrific; it got me into excellent shape, taught me a lot, introduced me to new friends, and provided a path to get my black belt. I still have classes I paid for there that I will use.
After eight-and-a-half years of training at my old school, I now want to see what I can learn at another school, and see how I like a different approach to health.
My new school is also a mixed martial arts school; I have entered as a non-belt student (the school also teaches a more traditional martial art, complete with belt rankings; I'm not doing that). At the moment, I'm focusing on standup/striking, the part of martial arts I have usually liked most.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, publishes suggestions for physical activity; based on those, I'm trying to get 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, and also do weight training muscle-strengthening activities 2 days a week. I'm doing the weight training at the inexpensive and convenient gym at my workplace twice a week; it provides a nice break to the stressful day at the office.
The weekly aerobic activity I'm trying to get through my new school and, one weekend day a week, a jog, run and/or sprint session. This schedule would allow me one day of rest a week (probably Mondays).
At the moment, I'm going to two one-hour group classes a week at the new school. The classes are quite vigorous, as my prior school's group classes were, though there are of course lots of differences in how the classes are vigorous.
Also, my new school offers a half-hour private lesson each week as part of its curriculum. I'm hoping that these private lessons will be a way for me to learn quickly.
There's a lot to learn. This new school approaches things differently, starting even with how you place your feet in the basic stance. We train in orthodox and southpaw stances, which is so new to me I was laughing at how awkward I felt in the southpaw stance. The school places more emphasis on wheel kicks, hook kicks and side kicks than I'm accustomed to; it has different ways to place the hands defensively than I'm accustomed to.
And all this I've noticed in only a week.
Whether I can, at 53, learn how to DO all these new things is another question--I'm not sure I have the flexibility to do all these new kicks well, for instance. And in my darker moments I wonder if, even with private lessons, I just can't learn how to move properly in stand-up sparring at this age.
My hope, however, is that, with the private lessons, I can reach new levels of skill and knowledge, while also finding new friends--without losing or forgetting the old friends.
Wish me luck!