Aug 17th 2017  


Karim Daoud and Gary Oliver, in Kung Fu uniform side by side. Karim Daoud is an Instructor of the Fujian White Crane Kung Fu & Tai Chi Martial Arts Club

Can Kung Fu actually make you younger? We always thought it would make us immortal – but younger?  Isn’t that going the wrong way? Well, Gary Oliver who trains with Instructor Karim Daoud at FWC Watford Club, thinks that Kung Fu has made him younger – and he’s got proof.

“I joined Kung Fu later in life (at 55 (well, almost 56) I am the Grandpapa of my Club!). It’s never too late and I am so glad that I am part of this journey.

Having been an avid sportsperson all my life I have undertaken many sports including rugby, football, canoeing, cycling, and then the curse of the GYM….  none of them really conducive to Kung Fu! So 6 years ago, one cold January a leaflet dropped through my door and caught my eye….so I gave  Kung Fu a try.

I was bigger in those days, high blood pressure, overweight, stiff, years of which had taken its toll.  That first class was the hardest thing I have ever experienced – I was virtually sick in class and ached for days, muscles I did not know existed screamed. ..yes we have all had that experience,..anyway  I stuck at it.

Gary Oliver training in class. Gary is a student of the Fujian White Crane Kung Fu & Tai Chi Martial Arts Club

Gary in class

Now, I have a huge respect for our Club and everything it embraces – the discipline, our White Crane Kung Fu style and the principles of our training, our Chief Instructor Dennis and all the Instructors who continue to develop us.   My Instructor Karim continues to shape me, push me, insult me into making the smallest improvements, tells me I am too stiff, overweight, too slow, too high and much more… but I have finally learnt to listen more (a lot more, Karim), practise more and take on board where I need to improve. I want to  improve…so I practise more..I will improve (think positive all the time) …..if only I was younger …. ahh that’s interesting, do you think you can be?

Just another day in the office…

Well, just recently I attended the annual works partnership event, whereby our partner organisations invite staff in to a ‘market style’ event. At this event they share their work and network. It’s got really boring over the last two years, so this year they introduced some more exciting things to do.

One of our main contractors for Sport and Leisure is Everyone Active.  They decided to liven things up and brought a Concept 2 Rowing Machine and ran a competition for staff, the fastest to row 500 metres wins a 3 month free gym membership. So, this was a challenge and one that I watched everyone blast away and set their times. The  super fit Gym Instructors set the pace at 1.41 for 500 metres and no one could beat this. mmmhhh

Ever tried rowing in a suit and tie?

We were all in smart work attire, no chance of a warm up, straight on the rower ..and GO for it. Goaded by the staff, some already know I like a challenge, I got on the seat focused and did exactly that. To my surprise at under 200 metres I was pulling at 1.32, with about 150 metres to go I was under 1.41 and I sensed the oxygen levels depleting, lactic working away and the fatigue setting in, I am not giving up , no way,  been here before in class, push through it, I could hear Karim’s voice in my head  shouting at me more, don’t give up !!  muscles and breath screaming now, I can do this, focused for the last 30 seconds, which seemed like an eternity.  Yes – finished. Time  1.37.

Slumped over the rower for a minute ( I’ll probably get 100 press ups for this! as I should have got up unperturbed and ‘died’ (recovered ) somewhere out of sight).  The main instructor looked at me and said ‘Wow ,so, how many times do you train in the gym per week?’ to which I replied ‘I don’t’. His face I could tell was expecting me to say 5- 6 times …’Ok so what do you do ?… he asked .’ I train in Kung Fu’ I said proudly glowing inside, at which he  expressed an acknowledgment and respect that he has some knowledge .’Ahhhhh Kung Fu’ he replied, nodding sagely.

Just before he thought I was some Hidden Great Master I replied ‘I am no instructor or anywhere near that. I am a beginner’ Then start thinking – imagine what our Instructors could do; smash it; they would probably have to reproduce the record books!

“Step on these scales please sir”

So I had grabbed his attention and, intrigued, the instructor then invited me to step onto the measuring scale that staff had been taking part in all day. Apparently it gave you a body age at the end. There were lots of laughs on this one – and surprises.

It was a sleek piece of kit, measuring body fat, visceral fat (fat around your vital organs), muscle mass, bone mass, skeletal mass, body water etc …I won’t bore you with the details of all my results except one, which was my metabolic age ( never heard of this before).

Younger! how much?

It was 40!!  See – Kung Fu can make you younger !! top day for me at work, 15 years younger and bragging rights on the rowing challenge in the staff canteen!….

Reflecting on this, could I raise my basal metabolic rate even further (which has the effect of conversely lowering metabolic age)? Is it possible and how cool that would be? what actually is basal metabolic rate? and metabolic age?  I have been asking Karim all sorts of questions.

By the way I have given away the 3 month membership to the gym, why on earth would I need that?  And as I am now 40 that means I have another 40-50 years training left to achieve my goals. Yippee!!”

Here’s the proof

Tanita body composition printout for Gary Oliver. Gary is a student of the Fujian White Crane Kung Fu & Tai Chi Martial Arts Club

As if you needed to see the evidence