All I can tell you is that it is not a physical thing, it is not a secret technique that I have been perfecting for the last 40 years in anticipation of this day.

There is a great quote that I have always attributed to Helio Gracie, founder of the Gracie Ju-Jitsu clan that goes…

“Learn to fight like an old man because one day you will be”…

… but in trying to verify it I cannot find any reference at all on the Internet.

Perhaps I dreamt it, still a great quote.

Well, today, JULY 8TH, is my 68th birthday.

That day is this day.

So what does it mean, to fight like an ‘old man’?

I first heard {or dreamt} this quote when I was around 30, and like all young men that wake up one day to discover that they are 30, I was feeling old.

At that time, my thinking was the quote counselled that technique was superior to force, that patience was a better strategy than haste, that being first was far more useful than being fast.

I still hold with and teach all of these IDEAS, but at 30, I was not an ‘old man’, surely this could not be it.

Perhaps the answer lies in seeing what I am doing today that I did not do when I was younger?

I am slower, for sure.

Everything is done with less intensity, no surprise there.

Otherwise, everything is as it has always been.

What is it?

All I can tell you is that it is not a physical thing, it is not a secret technique that I have been perfecting for the last 40 years in anticipation of this day.

It is an attitude.

If I found myself in a bad situation my first choice would be to not fight at all, that is a complete no brainer, and to be honest, not an option I would have considered when I was 30.

Could this be it?

If it is not my choice, keeping in mind that this thing we do, Wing Chun, is a ‘counter-attacking martial art, I would be responding and not reacting, all the same I would want to end it instantly.

Anyone I will be in conflict with will be younger, fitter, stronger to choose any other option would be suicide.

So perhaps this is how to fight like an ‘old man’…

On the first strike, unload everything.

Looking at this, yes, this fits the quote, maybe.

The thing is I have always done this and think it is great advice for everyone because we never know who the ‘Bad Guy’ is or what he knows.

Still looking backwards the first fighting advice I ever received was from my Grandfather, Jack Finn.

Jack was a genuine ‘old man’ as all Grandfathers are, he was not a martial artist but had served and seen action in two world wars, he knew what a fight was.

He told me when I was about 7…

“it is the height of bad manners to hit a man that is looking at you”

…this makes even more sense than my idea of going in first and going in hard, clever ‘old bastard’.

Is it even something that we do?

Wing Chun is a counter-attacking martial art so in the end we will only be able to work with what the ‘Bad Guy’ gives us.

My feeling today, as an official ‘old man’, is that the real understanding of ‘fighting like an old man’ is to simply never stop training, even once you are an old man.

“ Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. 

Arthur Schopenhauer 



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