As martial artists get older its important to maintain flexibility and continue practicing and developing. Some things get harder however, particularly jumping and other things that put strain on the joints. Injuries take longer to recover from too so its important to peak at the right times, i.e. gradings!
The 4th Dan grading exam involves jumping and breaking with 360 degree kicks, flying high kick breaks above head height, and flying reverse turning kick breaks all on both left and right legs. Practicing too much too soon may cause an injury which will prevent you grading, but not practicing enough means you won’t be able to perform it on the day, its a fine balancing act.
The grading exam for 5th Dan involves pattern Moon Moo in which strength and control of the legs and core muscles is needed for the slow motion kicks and for balance, as well as breaking with a flying kick over the shoulders of standing volunteers, and flying twisting kick breaks with each leg.
The ITF 6th Dan grading exam involves multi target flying technique breaks a minimum of 3 with the feet.
All these on top of patterns, sparring, self-defence and more. But don’t let age put you off. It most certainly can be done, and some of the people I’ve watched at recent gradings are an inspiration, people who have successfully achieved these requirements in their 50’s and even 60’s through indomitable spirit (and careful ‘peaking’!)
However training must be planned with careful timing particularly working towards 3rd Dan gradings and higher, don’t stop training, practicing, moving forward and most of all believing.
So when people say ‘Am I too old to start at 40?’ the answer is ‘What! Are you kidding?’