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Sword art results in surprising ‘side effects’

I stand in the front row of a sword class called Haidong Gumdo, partly because of an achieved rank and partly because of my age. There is no one covering my back as a group of students stand behind me with their swords drawn and pointed at my back skull in the ready position to begin our routine sword cutting drills. I consider it to be my secret weapon for keeping in shape and holding on to a sharp mental attitude. Whatever brings people together to train in this sword art will admit it has the right dynamics for a total body workout that appeals to many people of all ages, and it’s been around for a long time.

For the very young it’s all about the thrill of speed, skill and the ability to show off their athletic skill. That being said the sword is merciful when it comes to the aging population that are trying to become more interesting while trying to upgrade their physical well being.

I was a late bloomer to this art. But training in it for 13 years was well worth the time and effort. The important advantage to Haidong Gumdo was how it helped me over the years deal with three knee replacements. It made it so I never lost sight of my goals or priorities over the long haul of recuperating after these surgeries. And getting back to training as soon as I could was the first big step toward my recovery. If I did nothing it would be more physically and emotionally crippling, so getting started was the first big step. Make no mistake it started off as a physical chore and turned into a weekly fix that I am still doing today.

Since our culture is inclined to associate aging with a downgrade to vitality and appeal, I am here to tell you I can still strut my stuff.

Gumdo offers a low-impact cardio workout program while you swing your sword that will make the aging, worn out athlete or the retired, bored homemaker move across the floor with ease. In other words, it has a way of keeping older maturity  from arriving on our doorstep any time too soon. But at whatever age you suddenly realize that you are, Gumdo will be a smart choice that helps fuel a desire for self-renewal. It’s an art that takes aging in stride and makes it artful.

Another great advantage is the connection with others. Without fail you will find people of all ages. With all aches and pains may I add. But personal growth happens when there is collaborating, sharing and meeting with others that are there to enrich your life as we find our quest to evolve. Each person is a crucial beam in a Gumdo class to be there and help others reach full potential. There is individual testing of skill, rank promotions and people cheering you on. When I train in Gumdo I feel I am doing amazing things.

I currently teach in a community education class in Monticello, Minn. I speak from experience that this sword art makes a lot of people feel good, feel happier and gives them a little more of a cutting edge to life.

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