Be A Master Athlete, Not An Aging Athlete

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No longer are we required to be the “aging athlete”. From now on, we can choose to be the “master athlete”- Shane Eversfield

This is from Shane’s inspiring book Kaizen-durance. Kaizen (Japanese ) or Gai-shan (Chinese) is the concept of lifelong improvement.

It is well known that in any athletic activity, we reach our peak ability at a certain age and start to decline. For endurance athletes this can happen as late as our 40s, but after that our peak days are behind us. We can fight to slow down decline, but not stop it, even with continued solid training. Shane refers to this as pushing against “the aerobic wall” which can be frustrating. I should know, I’ve been pushing for close to 3 decades.

Master Po and his student “grasshopper” (young Kwai Chang Caine)

But then he gives us the example of elders who are clearly masters, like Master Po in the Kung Fu TV series, or Mister Miyagi in the Karate Kid movies, who can easily defeat much younger opponents because their talents transcend physical limitations. Shane introduces the term “neural potential” to illustrate what the magic is that masters have, and makes the inspiring assertion that it continues to grow as long as we are learning, even with the decline of our physical prowess:

The rest of the book goes on to teach us techniques to pursue this lifelong improvement, one of which is being diligent about mindfulness during training as well as daily life. Just the concept is motivating enough for me.