Starting martial arts over 40

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by leacollins22, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. leacollins22

    leacollins22 White Belt

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    I started Taekwondo a couple of months ago it’s heaps of fun but now after researching I’m wondering if I would be more suited to karate . So I’m not young and kinda unco so I didn’t expect it to be easy but the class I do is mainly geared to the higher belts . A lot of the focus is on head high kicks and I think no matter what effort I put in it going to be a struggle for me . I was thinking long term it would be better for me to take up something which isn’t 90 percent about high kicks and a bit more balanced . IDK I spent years doing boxing so I love combat kinda sports and know no martial art will be easy for me but I’m thinking I picked the wrong MA for me .. thoughts ?


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  2. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    Your age shouldn't really be much of a factor, I started TKD just before I turned 40...

    A good instructor will work with what you've got and, while pushing you out of your comfort zone, shouldn't be expecting you to perform the same as higher grades.

    It's heavily dependent on the instructors though, and slightly dependent on which style of TKD you're doing - ITF tends to be a little less focused on 'just' kicking compared to kkw/wt. There's also usually variation in between schools too.

    As to karate, that's a very broad term. It can range from very soft to extremely hard depending on the branch and, again, the individual school.

    If you're not getting on with it though, try something else. You might have been attracted to one particular name or style, but the school (instructors and other students) is more important when it comes to you enjoying yourself and making progress.
     
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  3. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    If you don't like the kicking then finding another martial art may be a good move. If you do like all of the kicking then just throw mid waist level kicks and each day make try to make them slightly higher. This way at least your training won't be wasted. You may not walk away with a high kick in the end but at least you'll walk away with some mid height kicks.

    Pick something that you'll enjoy learning instead of trying to pick something you think you'll be good at. For the most part you really won't know if you'll be good at something until maybe 1 or 2 years of consistent training. Everyone sucks at the beginning and it takes a while to get rid of that.
     
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  4. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Is the TKD school you attend in a convenient location for you? That is more important than style, especially in the beginning. At 2-3 months you are very early in the journey. If you enjoy the classes but are a little discouraged because you may be stiff or kicking lower than the higher belts know that is very normal. Remember, you have been at it only a few months compared to their few years. Stretching takes time. I suggest you look at it as a goal to focus on. Go early/stay late for classes and spend time on stretching. Does you dojang have mirrors? They are your best training partner. Watch others doing kicks, punches, stances, etc... and then watch yourself in the mirror. Stance work is an excellent way to build usable flexibility and leg strength.
    It sounds like you are at a predominantly WT/Kukkiwon school. It can be an excellent marriage with boxing skills. But if you want to work more on hand/arm strikes you may want to check out other styles.

    I hope you stay in touch and let us know how things progress. It is always great hearing about someone's new journey.
     
  5. leacollins22

    leacollins22 White Belt

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    Thanks I appreciate your comments and you’ve given me a bit to think about . It’s traditional TKD I am told we do two pomse patterns at each grading . Traditional and modern versions . With the kicking at training they practice what to me is complicated like double spinning roundhouse with a sweeping back kick ..for example . They don’t expect me to be able to master that kinda stuff now but I guess in my head I’m wondering if I ever will get a handle on that . Damn I’m still trying to distance myself properly having done boxing and KB I am always way too close even with the basics . I get it’s a journey though and I should suck at it being that I’m so new , but I really suck , lol and that’s on me not the school . All of this being said I love the sparring and the patterns so I need to commit or change sooner rather than later .


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  6. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    A couple of months in everything looks complicated ;)

    Do you know the names of any of the poomse?
     
  7. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Agree. You never want to be the guy who tells a stranger to suck it up but yes, I think you hit the nail on the head. I seriously doubt you actually stink at what you are doing. And, even if you do, that is OK. That said, places like this forum can help. More importantly, the hopefully family environment within your school are paramount to success. Use them as a tool. Use them for encouragement and for finding reasons to keep going and whether you are objectively on track. I suspect that is the case. You have the personality all instructors hope walk through the doors every day. Curious and results driven. It is their job to manage that attitude and help you reconcile your idea of "where I should be" with reality. This is something that is different for everyone.

    I know it is modern vernacular, and we all do it but I imagine saying you "suck" is rather strong. BUT, I think being hard on yourself is a good thing. I have also seen it be tougher on people who have moved from one style or sport to another.
    For example, several years ago I had two men who were more than casual runners. They had ran Boston and several other big time marathons and were good enough to have sponsors. One in particular came in with a little bit of a chip and thought he would just blow through "this TKD thing" with ease. He could not finish the first class. The workouts were so very different from the training he had done in the past (aerobic vs. anaerobic) that he could not keep up. It was humbling for him and we had to be a little delicate early on with his ego but after a time we would look back and laugh about it. He became a real spokesperson for the value of different types of workouts.
     
  8. tigercrane

    tigercrane Yellow Belt

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    I think your previous KB experience does not allow you to empty your proverbial cup. Empty it and let it fill with TKD. There are no bad martial arts, there are poorly trained practitioners as are bad instructors. That being said, you might want to try a karate class and compare the two. I don't know much about TKD, as I train in Goju-ryu, which has very few kicks and those are all below waist line. I came to Goju from kickboxing and over the time I learned to appreciate the fact of how grounded Goju is. In my humble opinion you run far lower risk of being trapped and taken down if you kick very low, that is unless you are Chuck Norris and such :) Best of luck to you and good training!
     
  9. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I suspect that the advice you've been given reference TKD is correct, and that seems good to me. With regard to myself, I started in earnest at age 46, I'm 59 now. I started in Isshinryu karate, a traditional Okinawan style that does not do much with kicks above the waist. It's a sharp, strong, style that does not do much with flash or 'pretty', but more along the lines of 'get it done and go home in one piece.' This appealed to me and indeed, I have found it works very well with my short squatty not so limber body type. But rest assured that age 40 is not too late. Best of luck whatever you decide!
     

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