This article states, in general, that the road to “superaging” lies on the other side of the valley of pain–or at least discomfort. I’ve always love the idea that our pain level shouldn’t rise above a “3” while our form and grace hits the scale at an “8”. Do this for long enough and you learn a distinction it is difficult to describe. “Intensity” is interwoven with “pain”, but deals with exertion rather than merely stressing our physical material. So long as you can keep form, and the “pain” remains at 3 and below, we can take our intensity to “9” and above. That’s what champions do. And, I suspect, that’s what “superagers” do as well.
I promised to share more about what my time with Danny Inosanto was like. At 80, he moves better than any human being twenty years younger I’ve ever seen, and better than most 30 year old athletes. He mentioned that his students are uncomfortable that he will take off his black belt and don a white belt to practice a new martial art, in this specific case Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
I think that this is the key to his “Evergreen” status, “when you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe, you rot.”
Martial arts are PERFECT for this. I thank the bullies who beat me up and set me on this path, because
- They can be practiced for a lifetime.
- It is always possible to find a level of intensity that takes you to YOUR edge
- It ties into deeply emotional survival drives
- You can practice it with or without partners, with or without equipment
- They can be approached through almost any emotional/mental “doorway”: cultural, social, physical, intellectual, emotional, practical aesthetic…however you are inclined
There are more, as well. What becomes clear is that one key to life is finding ways YOU can improve every day, in ways that are significant to YOU. Do this in alignment with what you know about a path that will support and nurture your spirit across the long decades, as well as provide the values you need to function in your daily adult world.
What’s that formula? To live in accordance with your childhood dreams AND your “deathbed” values. If you have no physical discipline to root this process, then use your “Morning Ritual” and make THAT physical exertion high enough to take you to your edge. Walking and Joint Mobility are a fine combination. Add abdominal “core” work, and you have a pretty decent overall program that can take only twenty minutes a day. That investment to be true to your animal nature, your childhood dreams, your adult responsibilities, and your ultimate values…is about the best and most intelligent investment you can make, to honor your past, to brighten your present, and to fulfill your destiny.