How old is too old for the martial
arts and Taekwondo? I started martial arts when I was in my forties and here are my
"lessons learned" for adult beginners. If you have any good tips for adult
beginners learning Taekwondo (or any other martial art), please send me an
email with your thoughts.
Advice for Older Martial Arts
Stretch, Stretch & Stretch Some More - You are not 15
any more! As you age, your muscles and tendons become less
flexible. In other words, it is easier to hurt yourself.
Remember to stretch at home before you go to Taekwondo and stretch at your
Taekwondo class. I even stretch at work in order to prep for my
evening Taekwondo classes. Concentrate on all areas of your body
but put increased emphasis on your
legs and any of your individual "problem areas". Visit our
page for Taekwondo stretching suggestions.
Talk to the Master - Most Masters/Instructors are very accommodating to
adults. Remember we are ones that write the checks, have kids who
might attend the school and who have friends who might become
members. So talk to the Masters if you have a problem or a
Ask for Help - If
you are having a problem with a technique, ask for help. The Masters and
other students want to help. They remember what it was like when they were "newbies".
See a Doctor - If you are seriously out of shape or have a
medical condition (i.e. heart problem), please see a doctor
before starting any martial art.
Taekwondo is a very physical sport.
Take a Break - If things are too intense (especially
early in your Taekwondo "career"), take a
break either in the classroom or during the week. Catch your
breath and come back. Also to improve your Taekwondo experience
over the long-term, you should work on your
You Will Get Hurt - You will enjoy (or is that suffer?)
some intense workouts during Taekwondo.
Unfortunately, you are no longer a spring chicken. Therefore,
you will occasionally get hurt... so be ready mentally for the
inevitable sprain, bruise and/or ache. More importantly, would
you rather tell someone that you hurt your back at Taekwondo or
when you were playing shuffleboard? :)
Don't Rush Back - If you are hurt (i.e. sprained ankle), take
some time off & let things heal. You will only make things worse
if you rush back & aggravate the injury. For injury
treatment ideas, please visit our
Taekwondo Injuries page.
Lose Some Weight - This will help you to reduce the
pounding on your knees & feet. You will also have more energy
(as you will be hauling around fewer pounds). Regardless, you
will be losing weight eventually because Taekwondo helps you to
burn a lot of calories!
Cheat - Yes, cheat. Buy a book and practice your Taekwondo forms
& kicks at home or in the office.
Prepare in advance for your belt test & amaze your Taekwondo
buddies. Here are my favorite
Taekwondo & martial
Practice - Like I tell my boys, practice makes perfect. Buy a
and practice your kicks & punches at home.
Shoes - Wear martial art shoes if allowed. These will
protect your feet & toes from dislocations and some bruising.
The downside is a little less control on some of the more
advanced kicks (i.e. spinning hook kick). Bare feet are more
"slippery" than shoes so it is easier to spin.
Tape - If you practice without shoes, please consider taping
your toes and/or ankles. When I first started out, I dislocated
my big toe when sparring. My toe got caught in the
mat and snapped out. Ugly and painful as my whole foot turned
black & blue.
Kids - If you have children, you should try to take Taekwondo
classes with them. It is a great family bonding experience!
Develop An Expertise - You
might not have the best spinning hook kick but you probably have
a better memory and focus than the younglings. Focus on a
favorite area to master. For example, become a
forms expert so
you can teach others and show off your superior martial arts wisdom! :)
Have Fun - Last but not least, you should just focus on
having some fun and blowing off steam after a long day at work. You won't be as flexible as the kids
in your martial arts class or as strong as
the 25 year olds but who cares! Just enjoy yourself. You will love the
camaraderie, weight loss, stress relief and non-stop aerobic exercise.
Comments from Other Taekwondo Students
Facebook friend Kristina offers the
following useful advice for Taekwondo adults - "Another
tip for those starting over the age of 40 (as I started at the
age of 40 (egad!:) - NEVER, EVER GIVE UP!!! NOTHING THAT'S WORTH
ANYTHING IS EASY!!".