Adult Kickboxing At Any Age

by Tiger Schulmann's Vails Gate

DIANE LYNCH never expected to pursue adult kickboxing classes. Now at the age of 64, she has only been training with Tiger Schulmann’s Mixed Martial Arts (TSMMA) of Vails Gate for a year. Diane celebrated her first anniversary with TSMMA on Mother’s Day. She originally signed on by invitation from her daughter. “I enjoyed her excitement with adult kickboxing classes but never imagined myself in this coterie. Neither did the young men in class. They were courteous, but their smiles gave away their thoughts. ‘We’ll see how long this one lasts!’ Sensei was so very gracious. At a time when I doubted my own capabilities and effectiveness, his gift of motivation and acceptance strengthened my heart.”

 “After the first adult kickboxing class with Sensei, I was struck dumb with how much I couldn’t do. I remember questioning, ‘What part of me is strong?’ Sensei answered, ‘You have heart.'”

In the past, Diane had tried different venues such as Curves, and took two different Zumba classes. “It took me six months to find the hinge in my hips. I explained to the instructors that being born in 1950’s, I bridged two different worlds…what was and what was­to­be. In the 1960’s women were still being “finished” with classes by Barbizon, to polish their gait in spiked heels. We would learn how to glide on our toes, sit or stand with great control, not plop and NEVER EVER JIGGLE ANYTHING.  My mother would have been horrified if she saw me in those Zumba classes. They were great.” Although Diane enjoyed the vibrant, social atmosphere of the dance classes, she expanded her curiosity and delved into other avenues. “When I first came to Tiger Schulmann’s, I thought of myself as healthy and active. So after the first adult kickboxing class with Sensei, I was struck dumb with how much I couldn’t do. I remember questioning, ‘What part of me is strong?’ Sensei answered, ‘You have heart.'”

Diane Lynch perfects her technique during the adult kickboxing class
Diane Lynch perfects her technique during the adult kickboxing class

Sensei’s answer resonates to this day, as Diane has reflected on many courageous things she has attempted. Things that seemed unconventional, though now they are accepted and even expected in today’s society. Diane went back to school when her kids were older to extend her teaching certification in science. She ran for the Board of Education and won, secured a fellowship to study in China, and most recently, after teaching Literature and Language Arts for 23 years, Diane refashioned her career to teach 7th, 8th & 9th grade Math.  Diane states “Not bad for a late bloomer…the first time I left home for a week long seminar I was 43. So I knew could do adult kickboxing classes!”

 

“’Kickboxing isn’t ladylike’……But it is a road to a healthier future” 

 

Diane recalls an instance during kickboxing class when Sensei instructed her to widen her stance. “I told him it wasn’t ladylike. Without skipping a beat, he retorted, ‘kickboxing isn’t ladylike.’ I Guess not. But it is a road to a healthier future.”  Diane continues to improve her strength and endurance during each kickboxing class and embraces Sensei’s coaching in perspective and life skills as a counterbalance to decades of programming and approach to living. “I look forward to every kickboxing class and leave better than I came.”

Diane has become a familiar face at TSMMA Vails Gate and enjoys the camaraderie and family oriented atmosphere of the school. She has truly become an inspiration to a number of her peers and exemplifies what it means to seize each day and use your potential to its fullest. “Truly there are glass ceilings in every one’s life. Many times it is a barrier of our own making, a mirror instead of glass. We can look up and sigh with resignation or we can actively work to change limitation to potential and potential into capacity.  Who knows, the punch we throw may be all it takes.”

By Lauren Rose