Age not a factor in martial arts for sensei

Sensei Bruce Buttler is proof that martial arts can be a lifetime pursuit.

  • May. 15, 2014 11:00 a.m.
HONING SKILLS - Sensei Bruce Buttler performs a solo training exercise known as a kata at Lacombe Karate and Kickboxing.

HONING SKILLS - Sensei Bruce Buttler performs a solo training exercise known as a kata at Lacombe Karate and Kickboxing.

Sensei Bruce Buttler is proof that martial arts can be a lifetime pursuit.

Buttler, an instructor at Lacombe Karate and Kickboxing, has been involved with karate for 28 years.

Even though he is 65 he shows no signs of retiring from the sport anywhere in the near future. In fact, he may find it more to his benefit t now than ever before.

Fighting the effects of aging is something he hopes to accomplish through his continued martial arts studies.

Buttler said he understands that, as he gets older, his physical and mental well-being will inevitably deteriorate with age.

However, he hopes that by keeping active both mentally and physically through karate, he can slow that process.

“What I’m finding now, in my mid-60s, is my body is going downhill and my mind’s not as sharp,” he said. “What I’m hoping and what I think is that karate will help that downward descent to be less steep.”

Buttler’s interest in karate did not begin until well into his adulthood. After enrolling his sons into Cheney’s Zen Karate and Kickboxing, he noticed how beneficial the sport was in terms of physical fitness.

So, at the age of 37, he enrolled in classes for the physical benefits of karate.

Despite his age, he still regularly practices karate, training and instructing at Lacombe Karate and Kickboxing.

With nearly three decades of karate experience, Buttler holds a third degree black belt in karate, though he noted his third degree was an honourary rank given to him because of his age.

In any case, it is an accomplishment that likely would not have been possible without the tutelage of Sensei Lyle Cheney, whom he and most of the other instructors at Lacombe Karate and Kickboxing received their black belts from. Cheney was a big part of the reason Buttler continued his training all the way to black belt and beyond, he said.

“He was an inspiration to me. He epitomized for me what I expected in a teacher. Patient, yet firm. High standards and always very respectful. I just thought he was a terrific instructor.”

Today, Buttler tries his best to emulate Cheney’s style of teaching as an instructor himself.

Buttler first started instructing in 1990 as an assistant to his wife, Sensei Geri Buttler, who had been approached to start a karate class in Lacombe.

The couple ran a class without a permanent space for several years before opening Lacombe Karate and Kickboxing at its current location along with Sensei Clint Robison in 2007.

There are a number of things that Bruce enjoys about teaching.

First, he said that teaching others has helped him to understand the art better himself. He gave the example of katas (solo exercises consisting of a set number of moves in a set order) saying that teaching a kata requires a broader understanding of it than it does to learn one.

“You learn a kata to a deeper level when you teach it.”

Another thing that Bruce enjoys is watching his students progress as karate practitioners (or karatekas as they are called) and seeing the “Aha!” moment when a student masters a technique or skill which is particularly difficult.

Bruce shared the story of one student who took over a year to learn his first kata, a feat most students accomplish in about three months.

“When he successfully did it, I almost cried,” said Bruce. “It was a thing of beauty.”

He said emotional moments like that make teaching worthwhile.

news@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Most Read