It seems appropriate to reflect briefly on being in the Winter of my own martial career on this first day of Winter. As a senior citizen, I sometimes surprise myself by my continuing desire to train regularly in the interactive skills of both taijiquan and baguazhang. I am also aware that while the experience and modest skills gained from decades of teaching and training still give me an edge over my younger and fitter students; that Father Time is marching on and my physical ability at 66 is diminished even compared to when I was 56.
Days when I feel particularly stiff and useless I can console myself that I can still move smoothly and quickly [for my age] and that aspects of what I practise and teach are getting better [for my age]. Perhaps it's a shame in a way that anyone has to learn from a young master as the best of those will only improve with age and martial maturity so that his or her later students are more likely to get deeper instruction than their first such.
Conversely, older teachers like me, are less able physically and so don't become much of a challenge for the young and vigorous once they have past the essential stage of being beginners where all skills seem exotic and not just the products of hard work and long-term effort under the supervision of a competent instructor.
I will end by repeating the advice given to me by one of my teachers some twenty years ago "you should train to live well and you shouldn't just live to train". I would add that this is true no matter what your age and no matter what the activity! It's too easy to take any activity too lightly or too obsessively.
A most Happy & Healthy Winter Solstice/Yule to all today and a Merry Christmas in a few days time.
Copyright Michael A. Babin ©2018
43+ Years of Experience Training in the Chinese martial arts; 33+ years experience teaching taijiquan and 24+ years experience teaching baguazhang