Everytime I tell someone I take taekwondo classes, the conversation is usually along the lines of:
“Oh, that’s cool, I did that as a kid.”
“Did you ever get your black belt?”
“I dunno, I guess I stopped going after I graduated/went to high school/etc”
For some reason, starting taekwondo as adult white belt is beyond strange for some people, and I still don’t completely understand why. I started taking classes with my son because it’s a good workout and there were other parents in the class so I didn’t feel out of place.
Now I know that I would continue to take classes whether my child was enrolled or not! Here’s a few of the benefits that I’ve reaped:
- Weight loss. Yup, I’m already down about 5 lbs which is awesome in and of itself!
- More energy! The more my stamina increases, the more energy I find that I have. I work a LOT and I usually don’t have the energy to play with my kiddo later in the day. Slowly, that’s turning around which him and I are both excited about.
- It’s fun. It really is and it gives me something to look forward to outside of normal daily life. I firmly believe that by pushing ourselves to do things and work toward goals outside of our comfort zones will vastly improve our quality of life.
The martial arts guy offers some great tips and things to think about before getting started:
See a Doctor First. Before you enroll in a taekwondo or any martial art class, be sure that you have cleared your plan with your physician. This is particularly true if you are out of shape, or you have a serious medical problem like a heart ailment. Please see your doctor before enrolling. Remember that taekwondo is a very physical sport.
Stretch A Lot. You’re no longer that flexible as you were two or three decades ago. Your muscles and tendons are not as flexible as they once were, so it is very easy for you to get hurt. Remember to do a lot of stretching before you go to your taekwondo class. Stretch your legs and arms at least 10 minutes before your taekwondo training.
Talk to the Master. Don’t be embarrassed with your age. Most masters or instructors are very accommodating to people like you. They are always there to help and clarify any concept or move that you may not understand at first. And keep in mind that these people know that you have friends, colleagues and kids whom you can refer to them if you find their classes interesting and engaging.
Don’t Rush Things. It’s okay to take a break if you find the classes to exhausting and intense. It’s very likely you’ll find taekwondo strenuous especially in the first few weeks of training. You can take a break by skipping a class during the week, or taking a break in the classroom. Taking a break would allow you to catch your breath and help you improve your stamina.
Practice, Practice, Practice. The old adage says practice makes perfect, and this is true in taekwondo as it is in other martial arts like judo. You can invest in a practice dummy so you can rehearse your kicks and punches at home.
Invest in Comfortable Footwear. Basic taekwondo shoes are comfortable and light. These shoes usually have a padded top that protects the foot whenever you kick a heavy bag. Taekwondo shoes also have a black circle at the sole which helps in pivoting the bottom foot softly for a kick.
Tape Your Toes and Ankles. If you prefer to practice without footwear, tape your toes and ankles to prevent injuries. The lack of tapes on the toes and ankles can make these parts of the bodies prone to injuries, like dislocation and sprains.
Take Your Kids to Taekwondo Class. If you have children, then you should bring them to your taekwondo classes. It is not only a great way to bond with your family, but it can also encourage them to try the martial art.
Have Fun. Finally, don’t be too mindful of what other people would think seeing a grey haired guy like you hanging out with guys half your age. Just focus and have some fun especially after a long day at work. Taekwondo can be a great stress reliever, and you’d definitely have more motivation to kick harder after a stressful day in the office or just thinking about your mounting bills.
Did you start taking taekwondo as an adult? What is your ‘why’ for doing it? Let us know in the comments!