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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
ROBERT’S ‘WEEKEND OF LOVE’ AT WOODSTOCK ‘94
2. A SURPRISING WAY TO FIGHT ALZHEIMER'S 3. SUPERFOODS ARE NOT SO NEW ... GRILLED CHICKEN SHAWARMA 4. ‘TOO OLD’ FOR MARTIAL ARTS?
‘TOO OLD’ FOR MARTIAL ARTS? TELL IT TO MR. MIYAGI — and also beat down bad guy John Kreese in the process, despite Kreese being a much younger man. Mr. Miyagi is based on a “stock” character, or archetype, from traditional Asian martial arts culture. But there’s a grain of truth to it, whether you’re looking at real-life martial artists (Henry Plée comes to mind, who practiced well into his 80s) or fighting school founders in medieval Japan — who often viewed karate as integral to their understanding of Zen and other spiritual matters, and thus essential as they got older. Netflix’s “Cobra Kai” carries on the tradition, showing us a much-older LaRusso who takes on the Miyagi role, opposite his longtime “frenemy” Johnny Lawrence. LaRusso and Lawrence have both returned to karate in middle age, and even Kreese reappears, now in his 70s and as formidable as ever. Is that realistic? You bet! According to one study, the average karate practitioner is 55 years old, and the average martial artist is 46. Many in both groups report regular sparring and contact practice. If you’re a martial artist, you may have to make some adjustments as you get older, but you’ll never have to give up your discipline entirely. And if you’re new to the world of martial arts, it’s never too late to start — as long as you find the right teacher and school!
Martial arts get added to the list of activities we can’t do as we age, right? Unless you’re doing tai chi or aikido, most people think there’s no place in contact sports for aging folks.
Except, as it turns out, there is.
From hip shows like “Cobra Kai” (and its basis, “The Karate Kid”) to centuries of tradition, older people and martial arts actually mix quite well — and they can be a great throughline for an active life. Martial arts took off in the United States back in the 1980s with the “Karate Kid” franchise, which continues today. The original movies showed us Pat Morita, an Okinawan expatriate and karate master who trains Ralph Macchio’s character, Daniel LaRusso. Morita’s Mr. Miyagi is no spring chicken, but he’s able to take LaRusso to new levels of karate expertise
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