The feudal Japanese considered a man to be fully responsible for his actions somewhere between the age of 35 and 40. Younger men were typically cut some slack in the face of transgressions, for they lacked the life experience to always take the most prudent decisions.
It is also widely accepted in serious martial arts circles that the average Warrior does not peak until he is between 48-53 years old. This is often where two trajectories intersect: Life experience and the collection of martial skills that translate to physical prowess. This is where your lifetime of skills blend with your lifetime of experiences to make you as dangerous an enemy as you will ever be.
At 50 you have been younger, stronger, and possessed of more stamina…but you lacked the wisdom of a 50 year old to maximize the physical skills. At 50, the average lifetime Warrior still has considerable physical prowess, and what the years have taken in terms of a moment or two of reaction time, or a bit of strength, experience has compensated with the ability to anticipate and avoid. The average 50 year old Warrior has seen enough that he can out-think the average 25 year old who is younger, stronger, faster.
Age & cunning will usually defeat youth and enthusiasm, as they say. Another common saying that relays the point has something to do with the old bull schooling the young bull about the wisdom of walking down the hill as opposed to running…
But here is the unavoidable point: If we conclude that a Ruckus is inevitable you may never be better physically prepared than you are right now. In my case I am only 43, but I have beaten my body to pieces several times over in dojo’s across the country since I was too young to drive and in places outside the dojo where those skills earned me a paycheck. My body aches most days, and new discomforts arrive routinely.
The clock is ticking against me. If the Ruckus starts in 20 years, I won’t have as much to contribute as I could today. I think most guys who are passing into their thirties understand what I mean – your body is notably different than when you were in your twenties. And 40 is a world away from 30! If you have been a softie for many years, you are behind the curve. By the time you start looking hard at 50, you have to understand that the body can take unexpected turns, such as heart issues and other medical realities that affect your ability to wade into melee.
CA has posted several times recently about getting yourself in shape, and it is seriously good advice, even if we never have to take the field. Personally, I have never gone to the gym or worked on free weights or machines. Throwing your own body weight (and another persons body weight) against gravity is a very effective workout. Combined with proper sleep and eating habits, you’ll reach the best fighting condition you can expect relatively quickly.
But remember, adjust your plans for the Ruckus based on the realistic expectations of your physical abilities.
Your body gets older and degrades every day, and it takes effort to counter the realities of life. The best you can hope for is to slow the inevitable.
I don’t care if you are wheelchair bound, or so overweight you start to wheeze just by looking at a flight of steps in a magazine, you can still be a useful member of FreeFor. But be realistic and build your plans around reality…and work every day to maintain or improve your physical condition.