bad knees

wes

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I'm interested in taking martial arts with my son. We have found a Tang Soo Do class in the area that is near our house. We visited the class to see what it was all aboutn and were very impressed with not only the martial arts but also the integrity, moral and confidence it taught the kids. I have bad knees and was wondering if a different martial arts is better for me or can the teacher provide other techniques that will not strain my knees?

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Nomad

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If you have bad knees, take care of them. First question is "how bad is bad?" Have you had previous injuries or surgeries on them (if so, how severe?), or just general soreness, etc?

You can do martial arts with bad knees, and can even turn relatively bad knees into good ones. When you start any program, keep in mind that you're working towards long-term goals. If something looks like it might damage your knees, don't do it (or alternately, do it but to a lesser extent... ie if the class is doing lunges, you might decide to do partial ones). Listen to your body... it will be pretty good at telling you when you've done something wrong. Continuing to push at that point is a sure path to injury.

In the meantime, you can investigate a number of supporting activities that, over time, will strengthen your knees and make them "better" (maybe not completely, but likely better than they are now). One of these might be specific weight training (strengthening the supporting muscles can go a long way). Bike riding (stationary or outdoors) may also help as it's a low impact activity that will strengthen the muscles. Here, the advice of a good physiotherapist would be hugely beneficial.

On a personal note, I did have a torn ACL and meniscus in my knee, and had surgery on it about 3 years ago. It took about a year to "fully" recover to close to its former state, and has continued to improve past that to the point where I feel comfortable doing deep squats, sprinting, and jumps on it and I know it is now stronger than it was before the injury. The point is to keep making gradual improvements.

Let the instructor know what the issues are going into the program, and see what his recommendations are. Let him know that if you think a technique is too risky to your own health to perform it, you will decline (for now), but also let him know that one of your goals is to improve in these areas. In all likelihood, he'll know how to work around your limitations. If not, then perhaps seeking a different school would be best for you.

As your strength improves, so will your confidence, and some of the activities that you look at now and think would destroy your knees can actually become do-able. You may never be the best person in the group at doing jumping 270 degree spinning kicks, but martial arts is about way way more than that.
 

jks9199

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It also depends on what you mean by "bad knees." Some problems can be corrected or improved by strengthening and using your knees, or improving your overall flexibility. Martial arts will very likely help you with these sorts of problems. Others can only be fixed surgically... and can be very easily worsened by improper martial arts training.

Discuss the problems with the instructors. If they won't listen to you, and won't address your concerns, that's a red flag. Note that a token "well, do your best and we'll see" is not addressing the concerns. This is a discussion that should take a few minutes...
 

KempoGuy06

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all the above advice is good. I went through the same thing and after 2 1/2 years they are better. not perfect but better

B
 

Dr. Mantis

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I also have bad knees.
Thanks to a good acupuncturist, though, I've been able to return to martial arts.
Wing Chun may be a good style for people with bad knees since it does not have low stances and does not require a lot of moving around.
 
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