Very, very discouraged - It seems Taekwondo is not for me

PeterMichaelF

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Hello everyone,

It's not a happy day for me, but I've decided to join the forum and ask for your opinions before labelling it a disastrous one. I'm very sorry to be writing so much in my first post here, but I'm really upset, and maybe I need letting off steam as much as I need advice.

I had my first Taekwondo lesson in September, when I was 56. I'm 57 now. All my life, I've been s*** when it comes to physical activity. I know having negative thoughts about oneself is not good, but I've found that being realistic as far as one's limitations are concerned saves lots of frustration. At school, I was the worst in PE class. I had little strength, endurance, speed, flexibility, stamina, and close to no coordination. I've never been able to do a single press-up in all my life. I dreaded running towards the vaulting horse, knowing I'd never be able to jump it. I was so scared of dangling from the wall bars that I would end up dropping to the ground when my weak sweaty hands would no longer hold me.

Saying that I didn't like physical exercise would be putting it mildly. However, my parents put me down for the school's basketball team and, clumsy as I was, I enjoyed the training sessions twice a week. But I was so bad at it that when we went to play against other schools on Saturdays, the manager wouldn't let me play, not even when only five of us showed up for the game. A team of four was better than a team of five including me (the manager's professional ethics might be the subject of another discussion, but it's not something that bothers me, and even then I saw it as normal). I blundered my way through ir for four years, and then I didn't do any sport at all until I went to university. There, I joined the rugby team for three years. I knew I wasn't going anywhere, but I saw them during training sessions, and they seemed to have fun... So I joined, and I had fun, too. This is when I realised how badly the basketball manager had behaved. In the rugby team, those who trained harder and showed more interest would play all the games, even if they weren't good. What I usually did is claim I was very tired (and I wasn't lying) and ask for a change during the intermission, knowing it would be good for the team, and also good for me (I can't deny that, much as I enjoyed training, I was terrified during the games, whenever I saw one of these giants running towards me).

I was 21 when I quit, and then I didn't do any type of sport until I was 45 or 46. At that point, I realised that my perpetual "off-formness" was getting even more serious when I saw I wasn't able to cut my toenails any longer (I'm 5'7" and weigh 183 pounds, with rolls of fat, though I like loose clothes and people seem to think I'm in good shape when they see me - I've always been sort of "high-density", even when I was slim as a teenager, but I'm clearly overweight now, though I wouldn't say I'm obese). Someone suggested that I did some Pilates. I hated every minute of it. I felt as if in the school gym again. But I knew I needed to do something, and I know things don't come easy, least of all for me, so I endured that absolute torture for one year and five months, but gave up when I saw it was taking its toll on my morale. I work long hours, so finding the time to go to the gym on weekdays was really a feat for me, and some days I came out of there almost with tears in my eyes, on wasting my time on something I loathed.

Funnily for someone so little sport-oriented as me, the idea of Taekwondo started going around my head about six years ago, when I met a young boy who competed at a national level; we were workmates for some time, and I got to hear a lot about what he did. Somehow I thought I might like it. But I quickly discarded it, because I saw it more or less as feasible as becoming an astronaut. However, last year was an extremely demanding one at work. It left me close to a nervous breakdown, and I decided I had to do something with my life instead of just working all day. I don't like doing sport, but I thought that it would be good for my health, and it would allow me doing something different, even if it meant taking those hours from my sleep (with my job and my housework, which I must do myself, I have absolutely no free time except on Saturday evenings and Sundays). Then I remembered Taekwondo.

I read lots of things on the internet. Everybody says one can start martial arts at any age, as long as you go at your own pace and don't try to do things as quickly as others. This sounded great: with my background, I'm very conscious that I'll need five years to achieve what others do in one. But I didn't (don't) mind. So I enrolled in classes last September.

I've been doing two sessions a week since then (I cannot afford to spend more time doing it). And I thought it was fun from the very beginning. It's true that after the five-to-ten-minute warm-up I'm already in a terrible condition, ready to go and have a shower, but I bravely go on, trying to do things as well as I can (which is not very well, of course). While other people who started at the same time as me (a couple of them in their forties) are able to kick at chest level, I still seem to be intent on proving that a kick in the crotch is the best method of self-defence. But I didn't mind. And neither did I mind being the only one who wouldn't be doing the test for yellow belt in December. Well, I don't even have a white belt, actually, since the instructor said we the "elderly" shouldn't buy a dobok until we knew we were going to carry on doing Taekwondo; little by little, he told other students to buy theirs, but after almost three months I'm the only one wearing a T-shirt and tracksuit trousers (this was the only thing I wasn't completely happy about, as I thought I would be less noticeable if I dressed like the rest). Anyway, as I said, I was having a very good time, even having already tasted that life is not a bowl of cherries when I was kicked on the face when failing to dodge someone's foot quickly enough (no tooth was broken, I was able to swallow all the blood, and my swollen lip wasn't seen because of the mask, so not even the instructor noticed anything and I didn't kick up a fuss).

Everything was going well until today. I don't have any technique to speak of, but I've done one of my pseudo-kicks today worse than usual, and I've felt a pain in the back of my leg. I finished the session, had a shower, and when I was limping my way out of the gym, the instructor called me and told me I should stop doing Taekwondo and start doing workouts in the gym instead. I asked whether that meant improving my shape before returning to the dojo, and he said "More or less". Then I asked him how much he'd think it might take, and he answered "These things last a lifetime". I would have thought that after seeing me struggling for almost three months he had realised that I'm in no hurry, but I've found his answer very discouraging.

I'm aware that I cannot do any sport unless I'm more or less fit. But I had hoped I'd get fit by learning Taekwondo, little by little. I can understand how once you reach a certain level, working out at the gym will help you increase your strength, or agility, or whatever. But I cannot help having the impression that I've been dumped. I foresee the gym will be a drag, close to the nightmare PE was at school. I cannot picture myself lifting weights just because; if I did it so as to improve some aspect of my performance at Taekwondo, I think I'd do it gladly. Maybe knowing that at some point I'll be allowed to return to the Taekwondo lessons might be enough, I don't know. But I suspect that's not going to be the case. I believe I'll end up not reaching the level required to take up Taekwondo again, and while I would enjoy the process of struggling with my mock-Taekwondo with the idea of getting a yellow belt some day, I don't think I'll enjoy the process of sweating at the gym doing things I don't like with little prospect of doing Taekwondo afterwards.

I'm feeling very depressed now. I've never liked sports like running, swimming or doing gymnastics in general. Other sports are more appealing to me, though not all, but I know I'm very bad at them. And, anyway, where I live there's not much to choose from. I've never minded being reminded of how bad I am, because I knew it was true. And when just for once I find the courage to decide I'm going to devote the free time I don't really have to trying to get a bit fitter while having fun, even knowing I will never really succeed, and I find that I actually have fun doing it, I'm told to quit. In normal conditions I can only sleep six hours a day. On the two days I went to Taekwondo, I went to bed almost one hour later than usual. I've been doing it gladly, but I don't think I can do the same to go to the gym. All I wanted was to do something I like in the middle of a life I don't like at all, and now I'll be adding two hours a week of something I dislike. And thinking of getting healthier doesn't make it worth it, I'm sad to say. When I was young, I never noticed any improvement in speed, endurance, strength and all the rest, so I'm afraid I won't notice it now, in the same way I didn't notice it in the almost one year and a half I attended Pilates classes. And what I was looking for when I enrolled in the Taekwondo lessons wasn't getting fitter (though, of course, that was a bonus), but being happier.

Of course, I know you cannot tell me much without knowing or seeing me but, from what you've seen around you, what would you recommend? Should I quit the gym and devote those two hours a week to sleeping, as I did before, or to painting lessons, which I'd also like trying? Is there any way I can measure my (supposed) progress in the gym? I mean, if I spend one month rupturing myself with a one kilo dumbbell in each hand without being able to move on to two-kilo ones, should I assume I'll never go back to the dojo? Are all those blogs and website lying when they say anyone can try Taekwondo at any age? I know all of you would recommend doing exercise in any case, because of good health and all that, but I don't want to go back to the depressive mood I had after Pilates. With this lack of motivation, I know I'll never return after Christmas.

And, on top of all this, the pain in the back of my leg which prompted all this is killing me. I can't even sit straight. All for nothing.

Thanks for reading this far, if you did.
 

Tony Dismukes

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Firstly, Id like to commend you for the physical and mental effort it takes to go in and push your way through class despite not having the conditioning or coordination that your fellow students have. Its not easy to make yourself show up and do the work when you dont have the habit of working out and arent getting the immediate positive feedback of seeing rapid progress.

Secondly, Id like to say that by asking you to quit, your TKD instructor was just showing his limitations as a teacher. Your original goal of getting in shape gradually by doing an enjoyable activity such as martial arts is completely reasonable and realistic.

Im 57 years old, the same as you, and like you I am on the bottom of the bell curve distribution in terms of natural coordination and athleticism. The only difference is that I was lucky enough to start training and fall in love with martial arts 40 years ago, when my body could recover from workouts and injuries a bit quicker. These days I think I can realistically evaluate myself as an above average martial artist, just by virtue of having kept at it despite the lack of natural ability.

I do think that unless you live in a very small town with limited options in terms of schools, you should be able to find a martial arts instructor who has the right attitude and experience to help an out of shape late starter like yourself get into shape and develop skills you can be proud of. There have been plenty of people older and more out of shape than you who have made that journey. Speaking as a martial arts instructor, I would be happy to help you along that path if you were in my gym, and there are plenty of other instructors out there who can do the same.

If you do decide to spend some time in the gym as a supplement to martial arts training, I would suggest that it might be worth paying for some sessions with a personal trainer who can teach you good form and help you set realistic progression goals. There is absolutely no reason for you to spend one month rupturing myself with a one kilo dumbbell in each hand without being able to move on to two-kilo ones. You shouldnt be rupturing yourself with weights and you absolutely be able to see progress in your first month of weight lifting. But sometimes you need some expert guidance to set you on the right track.
 

MadMartigan

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Hard to beat Tony's response, but I'll second what he said. The biggest factor in choosing where to train is finding the right fit for you.

I also recommend that people do not buy a uniform immediately, until they are sure they will stick with it. That said, I don't tell them when that is, they do. If it's been a month, I'll remind the person that they should be getting one soon... but if they come to me on their 3rd class sure they want one, they can buy one.

I would suggest not to worry about the name on the door (this is coming from a Taekwondo teacher). Find a school that fits your needs. From your post, a traditional Karate (or TKD if you can find it) may suit you better. I'd look for a school with a focus on practice for personal over competition reasons. You will likely find other people in a similar place as you, without the pressure to keep up with athletic 20 year olds.
 

isshinryuronin

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I agree with everybody. Karate is an activity that can be enjoyed (and benefit from) at any age. Close to 100 years ago, several masters said the same thing.

Find a school that will recognize your desire to do martial arts (this is what a good instructor should put first) and let you progress at your own pace. Everyone has their own timing and should flow with it.

As for getting kicked in the face, IMO this is something that should not happen at your stage of training. There is another thread where the issue of beginners doing sparring came up. I am against it. Light sparring after your first or second belt makes more sense to me. When you don't have a grip on the basics, sparring has limited value.

A good TDK school is fine, but don't limit your search to it. A traditional Japanese or Okinawan style school may suit your needs as well or better (not so much emphasis on head kicks.) :) Consider YOUR goals and pick a school that you feel can best help you achieve them.

Don't give up. Good luck.
 

Holmejr

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For the record, Im 66 years of age. I Agree, find another school/Instructor. Also, there is always pickle ball. I also play tennis, but have run into a ton of 50s, 60s folk that are not necessarily super athletic, but love pickle ball. Just enough exercise, just enough competition and a nice social environment.
 

J. Pickard

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Tony put it best. I agree, the instructor wasn't experienced enough to work with you and your abilities. If you really enjoyed it then it would be beneficial to look for another TKD dojang or even a karate dojo that is similar that you could join.
 

_Simon_

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Welcome, thank you so much for sharing that.

It is truly, incredibly sad that an instructor would do this. Truly. Some great advice above, I would absolutely look for another school. Trust me, they are NOT all like this. You clearly enjoy martial arts training, I would definitely follow that. Scope out a few places in your area, and even explain to the instructor either what happened, or just what training will mean for you, and why you want to train.

Please let us know how you go, and definitely don't give up in this pursuit. It will be well, well worth it :)
 

caped crusader

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I think before you start any other system again you need to get your mental thinking on par. Try joining a swimming class first with some cycling to start to get you in shape. When you're in better shape your mentality will change. More positive, not negative as you are now. Sorry but that's the way it is. The instructor Sounds like a karate guy I met years ago, not good. Full of himself. You have low self esteem and the time to baby you is over. It's up to you to sort it out no one else. I agree with some comments in that you would be better in an Okinawan school. I have known people with your mentality who said I will change and went on to do tough mudder contest which is assault course over mud and water. It will toughen you mentally and physically. You need to change not everyone else. Only you...
 

Instructor

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All good responses. I'm so proud of this community. Most of my students are between the ages of 45 and 60. You can do this, be patient and find a patient teacher. We've all limped out of a few classes with pain from time to time at every age.
 

ballen0351

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Like everyone else said You should definitely look for a new school. BUT if you decide to keep training or not to keep training You need to get yourself in better health for your own sake and to make life generally easier. Talk to your doctor about starting a program see if they can recommend a nutritionist and a physical trainer. Someone that can take your current limitations and design a program that will help you get stronger and healthier. You dont want to be carrying around all that extra weight and the associated health risks (diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol, etc.) As someone who personally let himself go for a few years and was very unhealthy, I can tell you First YOU CAN DO IT! Second, it won't be easy you didn't get to where you are overnight and you won't get to where you want to be overnight both require time. But getting yourself in better shape will help relieve the little aches and pains you describe.
I also think you are being a little harder on yourself than you should be. If you were able to keep up with the class for several months then you have the will and the want too. That's way more than a lot of people who just never start. Keep that drive going even if it's not in TKD. Make it a habit and keep it up just whatever you decide don't quit and spend that time sleeping you will never get better that way. I personally follow a group on facebook called Jym Army 1000s of people in all different points in their health journey from professional bodybuilders and athletes to Guys like you who are just starting out and have no idea what to do. You dont need to follow them but there are plenty of groups like that out there. So be proud that you were able to keep going to class 2 days a week for several months now keep that momentum going.
 

MadMartigan

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One last note: A martial arts school should be where you go to get in shape. Helping you get into shape to perform that school's curriculum is the instructors job. It's like telling you to get smarter before starting school.
Most fitness is fairly sport specific. I've seen marathon runners puke from the plyometric workout of a martial arts class. The reverse is also true. Being great at jumping kicks does almost nothing to make you a better long distance runner.
I always tell people. If you want to get fit for martial arts... do martial arts.

922_162453.jpg
 

themadbuddha

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From someone who was young and stupid many years ago and took anti-inflammatories to get through multiple injuries just to train more, get your injury looked at first. Get back on your feet and comfortable enough to sit properly then work on small steps both literally and figuratively. Pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong so go to an expert like a physiotherapist and work on a plan to get you whole again. And don't rely on the meds, work to get med free.

Don't necessarily think of giving up on martial arts because it is about you and your teacher and the people you train with. Instead, make finding the one that works for you part of your plan for health and fitness. Until then, you have pain issues to work out.

I do FMA, I used to do CMA and I have started HEMA (July this year). All are fun and more related than one would think, but I injured both shoulders (supraspinatus in both from helping people move house) and in order for me to just weight train, I've had to spend 6 months in physiotherapy to get significantly less pain, much more mobility and range of motion and strength back.

After or during, start looking at what's out there near you. Talk to people and the teachers and see who you click with then when you are ready, give it a go. Try beginner's courses in all sorts of things so the commitment is finite unless you get hooked.

I spent most of my 40s ignoring warning signs. I turned 50 with Type 2, joint and weight issues. Had to do the hard stuff, diet and exercise but in CovidWorld, our gyms are closed, exercise classes are limited, all regular training is off and everything is just harder but you need to look after your health first. I have discovered a simple walk outside is something I can really look forward to and I plan walks like I am a tourist so a new park/area each weekend.

TL;DR fix your injury, get stronger, find what you like doing with people you like doing it with, go for it.
 
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PeterMichaelF

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First of all, thank you very much for all your answers. I've read each of them carefully, and I'll try to follow your advice as much as I can.

The biggest problem is that I live in a small place where there's not much to choose from. There are two gyms, and a school specifically for Taekwondo. As for martial arts, the only options are Taekwondo in the gym I went to, Judo in the other gym, and the TKD school. The problem with the school is that they only train children, although afterwards they can remain there for as long as they want, so they only have a few people over 20 who are already black belts. They won't take adults and teach them from scratch. For some reason, I've never liked Judo. Which leaves me only with one possibility, the one I tried. Which is not bad, as Taekwondo is the only martial art I like (though, basically, like most people where I am, I only know Taekwondo, Judo and Karate). All other activities in the gyms don't appeal to me at all: things like aerobics, Pilates, yoga, zumba, indoor cycling, or fitness exercises.

Someone's mentioned that it's me who should change. That's probably true, but I don't really think I'm that negative about myself. If I were, I would have never even tried to do Taekwondo in the first place. I'm realistic enough to know that I won't get as far as others, and that it'll take me much longer to get wherever I get than it would take others. It's true that I don't believe in "where there is a will there is a way" (or everybody would be world champion of something). I do believe that hard work will take you as far as you can go (which is usually farther away than you thought before trying), but not further, because everyone has his own limits. I may be wrong, of course. We all seem to assume there are people who cannot paint, or do maths, or play an instrument, beyond a certain point, because they don't have it in them what is required to be really good at it. But when it comes to physical exercise, everybody tells you that all you need to do is work harder. And that only makes you feel worse when you're below par. Besides, those of us who are bad at / hate sports and physical exercise are unlucky in that it's something everybody should do. If you hate maths, or chemistry, or history, you can avoid them completely from the time you're 16 on. But if you hate sports, everybody tells you you must put up with it and do it. And I cannot change that; I cannot change my tastes (I'd have to be born again), though I can try and see whether I end up liking something or not. I tried Pilates, which didn't attract me a priori, and hated it. In spite of it, I did it for almost one year and a half, hoping I'd get to like it, but I didn't. I tried Taekwondo, which did attract me, and liked it a lot. But there aren't many sports I'd like to do. The only other I can think of is roller hockey, and I cannot do it for three reasons: it can't be done in my town, I wouldn't be too happy doing a team sport in which I'd hinder the progress of the whole team, and I'd get a broken neck in about half an hour (of course, I cannot skate, and I'd have to learn).

As I said, the two activities I considered as an outlet for my frustration at work were Taekwondo and painting. My tastes alone would have made me choose painting, but I chose TWD because I thought it would be good for my health, too. Though I never did I had any sort of pain because of being in bad shape. On the contrary, my health is good, even if I'm an overweight sedentary person, according to all medical examinations. But I'm aware that doing exercise will always be good and help postpone the health problems everybody is likely to have at some point. Anyway, I chose Taekwondo because I wanted to have fun. Getting fit was just a (desirable) side effect.

Anyway, sorry for all this. It sounds like I'm trying to justify myself, and though it's likely that's exactly what I'm doing, it's not what I wanted to do.

I still don't know what I'll do. As I said, I cannot change my instructor, though I can send an e-mail to the TWD school saying I'd be interested in classes for adult beginners, hoping more people does the same, and they decide to start teaching it. As someone said, maybe if the school is not so oriented towards competition they will be more patient and adaptable. But I would have thought that an instructor with an 8th degree black belt would know better than to dispose of a student only because he is much slower and clumsier than average. Even if he couldn't give me the personal attention I should have required, I wonder whether I was such a hindrance to the rest of the students.

I feel stupid. I hoped to reach an objective (getting fit) by doing something I like (Taekwondo). I now I'll end up doing something I hate (gym) to reach that same objective and be allowed to do the thing I wanted to do in the first place. And not being even sure whether I'll get it, or when. It doesn't look like the best scenario for someone with as little motivation as me.

Anyway, thanks once more, everyone. It's hearwarming to see how many of you took the time to help and encourage me. I'll really try and find a solution.
 
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PeterMichaelF

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From someone who was young and stupid many years ago and took anti-inflammatories to get through multiple injuries just to train more, get your injury looked at first. Get back on your feet and comfortable enough to sit properly then work on small steps both literally and figuratively. Pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong so go to an expert like a physiotherapist and work on a plan to get you whole again. And don't rely on the meds, work to get med free.

Sorry, I didn't see your message had arrived while I was typing mine. I'll certainly take care of my leg. I'm feeling better today, though I've taken some anti-inflammatory because I had to go to work today and I didn't know how I was going to do it otherwise. But tomorrow I'm planning on going there with the pill in my pocket, and take it only if I cannot stand it (I hope I won't need it). I've already made an appointment with a physiotherapist for next week.
 

themadbuddha

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Sorry, I didn't see your message had arrived while I was typing mine. I'll certainly take care of my leg. I'm feeling better today, though I've taken some anti-inflammatory because I had to go to work today and I didn't know how I was going to do it otherwise. But tomorrow I'm planning on going there with the pill in my pocket, and take it only if I cannot stand it (I hope I won't need it). I've already made an appointment with a physiotherapist for next week.
No problem and great to hear about the physio. I hope they are very hands on and practical and you get along like a pair of old friends. Just be mindful of your body and do what you feel you need to, trying to ignore pain can lead to more injuries. And don't rush things.
 

Flying Crane

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First of all, thank you very much for all your answers. I've read each of them carefully, and I'll try to follow your advice as much as I can.

The biggest problem is that I live in a small place where there's not much to choose from. There are two gyms, and a school specifically for Taekwondo. As for martial arts, the only options are Taekwondo in the gym I went to, Judo in the other gym, and the TKD school. The problem with the school is that they only train children, although afterwards they can remain there for as long as they want, so they only have a few people over 20 who are already black belts. They won't take adults and teach them from scratch. For some reason, I've never liked Judo. Which leaves me only with one possibility, the one I tried. Which is not bad, as Taekwondo is the only martial art I like (though, basically, like most people where I am, I only know Taekwondo, Judo and Karate). All other activities in the gyms don't appeal to me at all: things like aerobics, Pilates, yoga, zumba, indoor cycling, or fitness exercises.

Someone's mentioned that it's me who should change. That's probably true, but I don't really think I'm that negative about myself. If I were, I would have never even tried to do Taekwondo in the first place. I'm realistic enough to know that I won't get as far as others, and that it'll take me much longer to get wherever I get than it would take others. It's true that I don't believe in "where there is a will there is a way" (or everybody would be world champion of something). I do believe that hard work will take you as far as you can go (which is usually farther away than you thought before trying), but not further, because everyone has his own limits. I may be wrong, of course. We all seem to assume there are people who cannot paint, or do maths, or play an instrument, beyond a certain point, because they don't have it in them what is required to be really good at it. But when it comes to physical exercise, everybody tells you that all you need to do is work harder. And that only makes you feel worse when you're below par. Besides, those of us who are bad at / hate sports and physical exercise are unlucky in that it's something everybody should do. If you hate maths, or chemistry, or history, you can avoid them completely from the time you're 16 on. But if you hate sports, everybody tells you you must put up with it and do it. And I cannot change that; I cannot change my tastes (I'd have to be born again), though I can try and see whether I end up liking something or not. I tried Pilates, which didn't attract me a priori, and hated it. In spite of it, I did it for almost one year and a half, hoping I'd get to like it, but I didn't. I tried Taekwondo, which did attract me, and liked it a lot. But there aren't many sports I'd like to do. The only other I can think of is roller hockey, and I cannot do it for three reasons: it can't be done in my town, I wouldn't be too happy doing a team sport in which I'd hinder the progress of the whole team, and I'd get a broken neck in about half an hour (of course, I cannot skate, and I'd have to learn).

As I said, the two activities I considered as an outlet for my frustration at work were Taekwondo and painting. My tastes alone would have made me choose painting, but I chose TWD because I thought it would be good for my health, too. Though I never did I had any sort of pain because of being in bad shape. On the contrary, my health is good, even if I'm an overweight sedentary person, according to all medical examinations. But I'm aware that doing exercise will always be good and help postpone the health problems everybody is likely to have at some point. Anyway, I chose Taekwondo because I wanted to have fun. Getting fit was just a (desirable) side effect.

Anyway, sorry for all this. It sounds like I'm trying to justify myself, and though it's likely that's exactly what I'm doing, it's not what I wanted to do.

I still don't know what I'll do. As I said, I cannot change my instructor, though I can send an e-mail to the TWD school saying I'd be interested in classes for adult beginners, hoping more people does the same, and they decide to start teaching it. As someone said, maybe if the school is not so oriented towards competition they will be more patient and adaptable. But I would have thought that an instructor with an 8th degree black belt would know better than to dispose of a student only because he is much slower and clumsier than average. Even if he couldn't give me the personal attention I should have required, I wonder whether I was such a hindrance to the rest of the students.

I feel stupid. I hoped to reach an objective (getting fit) by doing something I like (Taekwondo). I now I'll end up doing something I hate (gym) to reach that same objective and be allowed to do the thing I wanted to do in the first place. And not being even sure whether I'll get it, or when. It doesn't look like the best scenario for someone with as little motivation as me.

Anyway, thanks once more, everyone. It's hearwarming to see how many of you took the time to help and encourage me. I'll really try and find a solution.
You arent stupid for trying to pursue something that you found interesting.

In what area do you live? Perhaps someone here knows of a low-key school you are unaware of. Perhaps you can look a bit further afield, to find other options. Might need to travel a bit farther, but if its a good school for you, could be well worth it.
 

Tony Dismukes

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It's true that I don't believe in "where there is a will there is a way" (or everybody would be world champion of something). I do believe that hard work will take you as far as you can go (which is usually farther away than you thought before trying), but not further, because everyone has his own limits. I may be wrong, of course.
So here's the thing - you're not wrong that everybody has their limits. Not everyone can be a world champion, even with the most positive of thinking. However, hardly anyone ever bumps against their true absolute genetic limits. It requires way more time, hard work, and dedication to reach our maximum potential in any field than most of us are willing to put in. (I've certainly never come close to those limits for myself and even most of the pro fighters I work with are significantly short of their true limits.) You may not have the potential to be a pro athlete or even a high-level amateur competitor, but I can guarantee that you can reach at least the level of the average TKD first degree black belt, and quite likely a few steps beyond that.

It may be a problem if you have limited school options in your area, but sometimes you can find smaller, non-commercial clubs which might be under your radar.
 

auntlisa1103

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I second and third and etcth the sentiment that this instructor is not a good one for people with challenges.

Its not you. Its him.

I started TKD at 38, blind in one eye, type 1 diabetic, with two subpar knees and zero balance or coordination. I once held myself back from a test because I couldnt put BOTH a 180 AND a jump on a side kick (my board break for that test). I wanted another testing period to work on it. My grand masters response was okay but I only give people one. You try to tell me that next time and Im going to say no, youre going.

I never got it. And he actually put me under a nothing off the ground restriction for the next two tests. He is ADAMANT that TKD is a Do. A Way. Its about finding YOUR path. To this DAY (three years later) I can do a jump side or a 180 side, but I cant do a jump 180 side. I just dont have the balance amid rotation.

My GM is fond of saying, at rank presentation time, that if you received a new rank tonight you have done everything he has asked of you.

The best instructors meet their students where they are at and help them find their path.

Also, Willie Nelson earned 5th Dan in Gongkwon Yusul at 81 years old AND is a 2nd Dan in TKD. So yes. With the right instructor, anyone can do this at any age.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Something to keep in mind is a lot of schools aren't good at marketing. There are plenty of schools in my area that you would not find through standard google searching, but require either more intensive searching/luck, or knowing someone that goes there.
 

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