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

Tony Dismukes

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You would think so, given that accurate information is much easier to find these days. Unfortunately (as we've seen for all sorts of non-martial arts info) misinformation is also easier to disseminate as well. This was the first result I found when I did a search for taekwondo history.
I got curious and checked additional search results. For the first two pages of results, 90% cited the thousands of years old story. One of the few exceptions stated that TKD was created by General Choi. On the 3rd page I started to find a higher percentage of accurate accounts, but still got plenty of the myths as well.
 

wolfeyes2323

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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.
IMO the problem is not the art it is the teacher/school , most MA like Karate , TKD are taught as if the beginning student is young and if not in good shape , capable of being molded into shape. Look back in the History of Karate and TKD , The Japanese introduced karate into the school systems (including University) , to prepare them for Military service, it was not so much the art that they wanted but the discipline and physical preparation, TKD is Korean Karate so is mostly taught the same way. You need to find a teacher that can work with you in a appropriate manner, understanding , the ageing process, and the need to work with students where they are at in life. You can not physically compete with those half your age, you can not train the same way and expect the same results, You can not train like a military recruit and expect that you will not burn out.
 

Steve

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Sure, 30-40 years ago the silly claims were being made. But by now, I think it unlikely that anyone associated with these arts still believes it.
We have people who believe that the vaccine is changing their DNA. Was reading the weird thread about JKD in Sacramento and did a quick google search for JKD in Sacramento. One of the guys who teaches it had filled his JKD page up with conspiracy stuff. I took a screen shot of this from that guy's JKD page, because I thought it was so crazy.

Point is, people believe all kinds of crazy. We have dudes on this site who I'm sure still think the pandemic was a politically driven hoax.


5gconspiracy.jpg
 

Wing Woo Gar

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We have people who believe that the vaccine is changing their DNA. Was reading the weird thread about JKD in Sacramento and did a quick google search for JKD in Sacramento. One of the guys who teaches it had filled his JKD page up with conspiracy stuff. I took a screen shot of this from that guy's JKD page, because I thought it was so crazy.

Point is, people believe all kinds of crazy. We have dudes on this site who I'm sure still think the pandemic was a politically driven hoax.


View attachment 28031
Oh Wow. Thats really disturbing conspiracy stuff. People will believe anything.
 

Steve

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Oh Wow. Thats really disturbing conspiracy stuff. People will believe anything.
Yeah, way I look at it is, if people believe this sort of nonsense, is it any wonder they get twisted up around martial arts origin stories? I mean, we have guys on this forum who think the pandemic is a political hoax. It's nuts out there. So, if someone thinks a blind monk invented his martial arts style 3000 years ago by watching a beaver build a dam, whatever. If he thinks his style is borne from the unholy union of a demon and a mortal, neat. These seem pretty harmless in the scheme of things.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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Yeah, way I look at it is, if people believe this sort of nonsense, is it any wonder they get twisted up around martial arts origin stories? I mean, we have guys on this forum who think the pandemic is a political hoax. It's nuts out there. So, if someone thinks a blind monk invented his martial arts style 3000 years ago by watching a beaver build a dam, whatever. If he thinks his style is borne from the unholy union of a demon and a mortal, neat. These seem pretty harmless in the scheme of things.
Sure I love a good fairy tale. I still have my E.Gary Gygax stuff.
 

Steve

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Can we avoid crapping up this thread with a COVID hoax/real, masks mandate, Vaccination vs. "Unvaxed" run?
Well, that's up to you. It's a current example of how folks believe weird stuff, even if it is obviously ridiculous to others. Are there any other examples that we should avoid to protect your delicate sensibilities? How do you feel about aliens?
 

Tony Dismukes

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COVID shut our 25 year running weekly game. A bunch of 50 year olds still yelling about rules over the table. We are ridiculous to listen to.
My weekly D&D group has been playing via video chat for the last year and a half. Hopefully we can get back to in-person sessions at some point.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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My weekly D&D group has been playing via video chat for the last year and a half. Hopefully we can get back to in-person sessions at some point.
I'm in two groups. One we tried to switch over to online due to covid, but a couple members didn't want to be stuck in front of a screen after being stuck in front of one all day.

The other one we took a break til we could go back in-person. Luckily it's a group that involves people who don't go out at all (unemployed or WFH), myself (WFH), and my landlord who lives downstairs and I'd be coming into contact with regularly anyway. Not sure if it would have continued otherwise.
 

Ji Yuu

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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.
I have practiced Tae Kwon Do for 46 years. Here is my advice:
1. Find a new instructor; the one you have now has the wrong approach to teaching martial arts.
2. Tae Kwon Do is fine; just stay away from sport and focus on the self defense aspect of the art (it's the original purpose behind it).
3. Once you have followed 1 and 2, you'll understand why I encourage you to buy yourself a Karategi and commit yourself to learning the art of combat (that's what Martial Arts is).
 

Wing Woo Gar

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I'm in two groups. One we tried to switch over to online due to covid, but a couple members didn't want to be stuck in front of a screen after being stuck in front of one all day.

The other one we took a break til we could go back in-person. Luckily it's a group that involves people who don't go out at all (unemployed or WFH), myself (WFH), and my landlord who lives downstairs and I'd be coming into contact with regularly anyway. Not sure if it would have continued otherwise.
WOW! Just wow! Is every martial arts guy in here also a dnd nerd like me and my whole crew of martial arts friends? This deserves a thread. What in the heck? I never would have guessed.
 
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