Saturday, May 24, 2008
Starting After 50 ( Part One )
I started this journal a couple of years ago. In my mind I thought that it might be of benefit to someone else that started fencing in their fifties. I doubt that there is much ( if anything ) that would be of value to people that start fencing after 50.
For the last day or so I have been thinking about this. I sometimes use thinking about fencing as an escape. The place were I work has around 20 people in it. They laid off four yesterday. I knew it was coming. It is hard to see people loose their jobs. It is harder to be a baby boomer and loose your own. There has been some stress in my life knowing this was coming and knowing that the future does not look all that bright either. Thinking about fencing is a wonderful escape.
But as usual I digress.
People that start fencing after 50. Yeah....that was it! It is a small demographic. Smaller yet are the ones that stay with it.
What are the differences between a person that starts after fifty and young person starting fencing?
You can't make much distinction. For example, you might say that the older person may have more body weight, but that may not be true. For every example I can think of (off the top of my head) I can I sight someone that makes it not true.
Yet as sure as there is gray hair and wrinkles around the eyes there are differences.
I have always been into some sort of physical activity. (Martial arts for 18 years, running, weight lifting.) Okay.....none of those things are very evident in my body today,but I did those things. I still make an effort to hit the gym when I can. During these activities I became somewhat knowledgeable concerning exercise and nutrition. (Not that I applied that knowledge, but I knew it.)
When I turned 50, I began to try and read up on exercising in your fifties. Not a pleasant experience. First there is a HUGE drop off in information for people that exercise in there fifties. The majority of information you will find will be on walking and maybe ( shudder) water aerobics. You can find information on weight lifting, but it is designed for people that would have trouble curling a soup can.
Now from time to time you can find info that is of value. However, beware. I found a site once that when into some detail about what you might experience physically in your fifties. Things like you start to loose balance abilities (who knew?) and flexibility. Itwas shortly after I began reading these web sites that I stopped reading those web sites. So if you are in your fifties and amazingly have some reason to find my silly little journal, here are my suggestions for you:
1. Do not spend very much time trying to read up on physical exercise and what to expect as you pass through your fifties. What you read will tend to become self fulfilling prophecies. Exercise yes...by all means. Pay attention to stretching and your body. You will be fine.
2. Do not compare yourself to someone in their fifties that has been fencing sense they were eight. I have fenced Dragonnetti before. ( I am sure I spelled his name wrong.)
3. If possible find a friend near your own age that fences. Either at your club or on line. ( Note: I was very, very lucky in this regard. I would mention her name , but I would most certainly be cast into the abyss for doing so.)
4. If you are in a club and they are doing physical training or a hell of a warm up and you can't hang......flip off the coach and the teenager that is barely sweating and rest for a while. Okay...you can do this without the flip off. Just do it mentally. If your coach is descent, they will not give you greif. If they give you greif, find a new coach.
5. If you are competing and you get tired, take your own sweet time about coming to the on guard line. Walk around a minute it, wipe the sweat from your nose. pretend to tie your show or fix a weapon. I do this sometimes just to think about what is happening or try to screw up my opponent.
6. You get two minutes between pool bouts ( in most cases) and ten minutes between DEs' Take every frikin' second you need. A ref wants to get on with it...people are waiting.....screw them, they will not wait long.
Damn....I am on a roll and I could keep going, but it is time to get on with the day.
To be continued.............................