41 year old newbie here with a question

level7

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Hey!

I've started down the path that will hopefully one day lead me to a black belt in Taekwondo.

I am amazed at my 7 year old's daughter's natural ability to kick really high (her head height) with little effort. We both started at the same time.

I on the other hand, have trouble kicking from the side. Unless my standing leg heel is pointed towards the target my kicks are low and painful at the hips. While I understand "painful" is subjective, it is not a sharp pain but more of a range of motion pain. Is this normal and will it get better with stretching and more practice or am I doomed to improve my hand strikes and blocks from kicks?

It sucks to get old, I regret I had not picked this up long ago. I think I would have been pretty good as I am quicker or as quick as some of the younger fighters during sparring but I have no leg game :(
 

terryl965

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All you need is time and proper strecthing and you will be there as well.

PS you shoulld go to the meet and greet section and introduce yourself.
 

JadecloudAlchemist

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hpulley

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I'm not in TKD and I'm not quite as old (36, nearly 37) but I can say that while you can improve your flexibility for sure and raise your kicks some, you'll never be like a 7 year old girl! Similarly my kids are so flexible that it is hard to believe but after years of sitting or standing the same position and just plain age I bet they won't be so flexible either. Will you ever be able to kick someone in the head now? I don't know... some people can regain more flexibility than others but it is possible that you never will. Good luck and do lots of stretching!

Oh, and something which is good in karate/kobudo is to have a partner help you stretch. This definitely helps to open stuff up.
 

Dr. Mantis

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Take your stretching slow and gradually. Don't be in a hurry for results. I use my television watching time for stretching.

Even if you're never able to kick high, stretching will help you feel better anyways.

Just take it slow and easy. Over several months of regular stretching you may begin to see gradual improvements. If you stop doing it though, the benefits will go away. So, even if you quit TKD, keep on exercising.
 

Drac

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All good responses that I cannot add to without repeating what was already said..
 

Tez3

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You are only a couple of years younger than I was when I started, that was over 16 years ago. ( shudders quietly to herself lol). I've never been able to stretch very far and have never done kicks much above belt height but my low kicks are very good!
The advice you will get from MT is good always, many experienced people here.
Enjoy your MA and don't compare yourself to anyone!
 

tshadowchaser

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First let me welcome you to MT.

Being older it is not fair to compare yourself to the kids, they just are more limber.

As has been said take your time stretching at school and when at home.

You may never be able to do some of the high kicks like the young ones but that should not be your goal. Your goal should be to challenge yourself to be the best you can be over time. IT dose take time. Pace yourself but challenge yourself also. You will see results slowly (maybe slowly), so take each new achievement as a positive and work from there to the next level.
Congratulations on starting and the best to you in your training
 
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level7

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Thanks guys/gals.

I'm the type that likes to dive right in and excel especially now since I'm older and have the experience and wisdom to get there faster. I'm so annoyed with my body. The mind is willing but the body is not :(

Its frustrating to spar with 20-30 year olds and then get accused of kicking at their knees when I'm clearly trying to kick at their mid section LOL. It serves them right for being so young :). Oh well looks like lots of stretching.
 

MasterWright

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Perhaps a little light stretching before your class, think about getting blood flow to the joints before moving fast. Muscles are 70 percent water so get them warm before stretching.

If you will yourself to relax when you stretch you should see instant results and understand. I live in Canada where it's cold during the winter and notice increased flexibility in the summer. So I work hard to increase that before the bad weather comes. Every year a little more, despite my age.

Hope this is of some benefit.
 

Almost

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Yea stretching is going to do it for you. My suggestion is straddle splits. Just sit in that position for a while and learn to relax and go to both sides as well but try to keep low and keep your hips open when you move. I think that would help. Also ask your teacher for some good stretches that you can do. Being around for so long teachers are good resources.
 

hpulley

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I must say, I get the "keep the kicks above the belt" comment myself too and I think and ask, "why"? Kicking someone in the knees is a valid self defense tactic though perhaps not allowed in competition TKD. IMO you should be worried about your knees so don't expect me not to kick them!
 

fireman00

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Hey!

I on the other hand, have trouble kicking from the side. Unless my standing leg heel is pointed towards the target my kicks are low and painful at the hips. While I understand "painful" is subjective, it is not a sharp pain but more of a range of motion pain. Is this normal and will it get better with stretching and more practice or am I doomed to improve my hand strikes and blocks from kicks?

I have learned from 2 different instructors - one WTF the second teaches ITF and WTF. Both have taught to turn your standing leg so that your heel faces the target.
 

Gordon Nore

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I am amazed at my 7 year old's daughter's natural ability to kick really high (her head height) with little effort. We both started at the same time.

That's quite natural. As you watch the kids of various ages practise, you'll be astonished at what they can do. With older kids, you may notice that novice girls and women kick better than novice boys and men, especially in terms of flexibility and height.

I on the other hand, have trouble kicking from the side. Unless my standing leg heel is pointed towards the target my kicks are low and painful at the hips. While I understand "painful" is subjective, it is not a sharp pain but more of a range of motion pain. Is this normal and will it get better with stretching and more practice or am I doomed to improve my hand strikes and blocks from kicks?

I won't comment on the nature of the pain. However, I can relate to you the apparent inflexibility you're experiencing. (BTW: I started at 35 and got my first dan at 46, so I understand the age and flexibility issue.) What you're saying is, your sidekick is harder with your planted foot perpendicular to the target. Turning the foot as you are doing -- so your planted toes are opposite the target -- is exactly what I do. Essentially, you've taken a side kick and turned it into a modified back kick. Kicking that way, you probably feel like your balance is better, the height comes more easily, and the kick itself feels stronger. Am I right?

Again, I would concentrate on the technique, and worry less about height. A low sidekick -- or modified back kick -- targeted to knee, shin, calf, or ankle is a valid self-defense technique. I would be curious if you're experiencing less pain when kicking lower. My motto: If you can't kick high, kick low.

It sucks to get old, I regret I had not picked this up long ago. I think I would have been pretty good as I am quicker or as quick as some of the younger fighters during sparring but I have no leg game :(

Don't be discouraged -- with careful repetition and guidance, you will be doing things in a year that you had never imagined possible.

As for the pain itself, I would err on the side of caution and talk to my teacher and doctor.
 

Gordon Nore

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I must say, I get the "keep the kicks above the belt" comment myself too and I think and ask, "why"? Kicking someone in the knees is a valid self defense tactic though perhaps not allowed in competition TKD. IMO you should be worried about your knees so don't expect me not to kick them!

hpulley,

I posted my reply before reading yours carefully and was delighted to discover we came to the same conclusion.
 

Kacey

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Hey!

I've started down the path that will hopefully one day lead me to a black belt in Taekwondo.

I am amazed at my 7 year old's daughter's natural ability to kick really high (her head height) with little effort. We both started at the same time.

She's 7. Young children have a couple of things going for them in terms of flexibility - their body proportions are different (their legs and arms are closer to the length of their torsos than adults) and their rapidly growing muscles and ligatures tend to be looser. Both of these are why she is able to kick so much higher than you are. However, over time, your kicks will get higher too - perhaps not as high as hers, but you will have strengths of your own that will balance out against her flexibility.

I on the other hand, have trouble kicking from the side. Unless my standing leg heel is pointed towards the target my kicks are low and painful at the hips. While I understand "painful" is subjective, it is not a sharp pain but more of a range of motion pain. Is this normal and will it get better with stretching and more practice or am I doomed to improve my hand strikes and blocks from kicks?

It'll get better - but it may take several months, or longer, depending on just how tight your joints currently are, and how flexible you feel you need to be. Stretching after working out will help much more with overall flexibility than stretching beforehand - when your muscles are warm and tired, they will stretch farther than they will when they are cold and rested.

It sucks to get old, I regret I had not picked this up long ago. I think I would have been pretty good as I am quicker or as quick as some of the younger fighters during sparring but I have no leg game :(

Age and treachery will win out over youth and speed!

I have learned from 2 different instructors - one WTF the second teaches ITF and WTF. Both have taught to turn your standing leg so that your heel faces the target.

Me too - although I've only learned in the ITF, that's how I learned and teach side kick as well.
 
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level7

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Gordon,

Yes, I feel more power with my heel facing the target. But aren't there other kicks that have the standing foot parallel to the target? My favorite kick is the kick where you twist/pivot on your lead foot and spin around for a back kick, I get power and can land a stomach/chest high kick. A roundhouse will work if I execute a perfect heel facing the target move, otherwise, its kinda low and painful.

I'm really concerned more about the sparring aspect. In SD I'll aim for the knees, no question. No need to get fancy there. In sparring, I'll be pummeled all day long unless I have a kicking game that doesn't include knee strikes :) Another thing I'm exploring is jumping kicks. By jumping I close half the distance but exert more energy and increase the risk of hurting myself during a bad landing.

That's quite natural. As you watch the kids of various ages practise, you'll be astonished at what they can do. With older kids, you may notice that novice girls and women kick better than novice boys and men, especially in terms of flexibility and height.



I won't comment on the nature of the pain. However, I can relate to you the apparent inflexibility you're experiencing. (BTW: I started at 35 and got my first dan at 46, so I understand the age and flexibility issue.) What you're saying is, your sidekick is harder with your planted foot perpendicular to the target. Turning the foot as you are doing -- so your planted toes are opposite the target -- is exactly what I do. Essentially, you've taken a side kick and turned it into a modified back kick. Kicking that way, you probably feel like your balance is better, the height comes more easily, and the kick itself feels stronger. Am I right?

Again, I would concentrate on the technique, and worry less about height. A low sidekick -- or modified back kick -- targeted to knee, shin, calf, or ankle is a valid self-defense technique. I would be curious if you're experiencing less pain when kicking lower. My motto: If you can't kick high, kick low.



Don't be discouraged -- with careful repetition and guidance, you will be doing things in a year that you had never imagined possible.

As for the pain itself, I would err on the side of caution and talk to my teacher and doctor.
 

Gordon Nore

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Gordon,

Yes, I feel more power with my heel facing the target. But aren't there other kicks that have the standing foot parallel to the target? My favorite kick is the kick where you twist/pivot on your lead foot and spin around for a back kick, I get power and can land a stomach/chest high kick. A roundhouse will work if I execute a perfect heel facing the target move, otherwise, its kinda low and painful.

My spinning inventory is about two kicks: I've underlined what sounds to me like a turning or spinning side-kick, again just modified slightly like a back kick. It's good for closing the distance fast and delivering power to the target. It can be done leading (cross your lead foot and swing around) or full (step forward with back foot and cross lead foot) -- the latter is more of a "tell" if you're not really fast.

I'm really concerned more about the sparring aspect. In SD I'll aim for the knees, no question. No need to get fancy there. In sparring, I'll be pummeled all day long unless I have a kicking game that doesn't include knee strikes :) Another thing I'm exploring is jumping kicks. By jumping I close half the distance but exert more energy and increase the risk of hurting myself during a bad landing.

I understand why you want a more diverse kicking arsenal for sparring in TKD -- I forget the emphasis on kicking in that art. I dabbled in spinning and leaping in my late thirties, then sought closer to the ground options, but tourney-style wasn't a priority at my school. Essentially, we know that you can kick backwards with comfort and confidence, which suggests that you should also be able to kick forwards. You might find that you can get sufficient height with simple front thrust and snap kicks. Properly timed, you can get plenty of speed and height going to make your opponent lower his/her arms.

As for adding to your spinning, good on you. It was never in the cards for me.
 
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level7

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... Essentially, we know that you can kick backwards with comfort and confidence, which suggests that you should also be able to kick forwards. You might find that you can get sufficient height with simple front thrust and snap kicks. Properly timed, you can get plenty of speed and height going to make your opponent lower his/her arms.

As for adding to your spinning, good on you. It was never in the cards for me.

Very good... Yes, no problems kicking front snap. Chest high, nice and clean. Weird, I was just practicing this last night.

I was reading some the Bruce Lee's books on kicking and he favored the back kicks. Lots of power there. The side kick are more of a glancing blow according to him and not as powerful. He seems spot on. At least I'm on the right track. That guy's amazing.

Thanks for your help. I'm psyched for tonight. I hope I get to spar with a quick black belt.
 
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