Taekwondo circles around intelligence and the right attitude. For this reason, you’re never too old to begin with Taekwondo. With dedication and determination, you can make the cut even after 60 let alone 30 or 40 years of age.
Though, it is hard for older students, there’s no giving up. You can start with Taekwondo at any age but winning local tournament solely relies on yours and your opponent’s skills. Especially if you have younger opponents, you will find it fairly difficult to cope up with them. Before we get into approaching a challenge, let us understand our body first in relation to Taekwondo.
Step 1: Approaching a challenge
Taekwondo involves high-intensity kicking, spinning, jumping and acrobatic kicks, if at all, age becomes a barrier then it’s because of the intensity. Older students are more likely to get injured if they overdo the sessions. Spinning and Jumping are two things which might seriously injure the older practitioners.
Approaching a Challenge
The major problem in this duel is that your age doesn’t permit you the explosiveness which exists in children and young adults. Thus, you will have to compensate speed, flexibility and explosiveness with mindfulness and intelligence. An intelligent fighter knows what works and what doesn’t. Older students will have difficulty with the forms or simple kicks like front kicks, sidekicks or roundhouse kicks. Young students are more likely to work better in this area due to their speed, flexibility and control over the body.
Focus on difference-making drills
Taekwondo is a terrific martial art. It will help strengthen your core and your legs. Regardless of your age, your agility will improve along with your balance and coordination. Though your ankles and knees might find it a bit hard, ensure that you focus on light-impact workouts and drills. It will help prevent bone loss and will help prevent injury. While we are acknowledging our strengths and areas, it’s quite essential to pay attention to the weaknesses.
Acknowledging the weakness
As a 35-year-old, you wouldn’t expect yourself to be as fluid as a 20-year-old. However, you don’t necessarily need to stretch your body into two. Even less flexible people can make the most out of Taekwondo. Training improves flexibility, mental alertness and overall movement.
Avoiding what might hurt
Obstacle training which involves jumping and kicking is the main reason for older practitioner’s injury. For this reason, you should avoid drills and training mods which can hamper the chances of competing in the tournament. For this reason, you shouldn’t try too hard when practicing – round kicks, tornado kicks. Any type of explosive kick which involves quick body movement should be well-assessed or avoided.
Self-Improvement at heart
If you want to practice Taekwondo to kick everyone’s ass on the street, then better don’t. Taekwondo is primarily for self-defense and self-improvement. It’s the right martial art for you if you’re looking to improve yourself in every aspect of life. It is not just a sport but rather an art and a philosophy.
Step 2: Keeping implications in mind
- Practice Basic Kicks: Do not go for fancy, high-intensity kicks as you might end up injuring yourself.
- Focus on punches and blocks: Avoid kicking, saving energy and putting them into punches and blocks will give you a better chance at a duel
- Do not over-do drills: Overdoing exercises will result in injury and fatigue. Follow your coach’s advice and don’t go overboard.
- Keep the intensity light: Light impact workout and drills will help you improve a lot without putting you at risk of injury.
- Don’t turn it into a fitness contest: Though, you have to play safe, don’t end up turning Taekwondo into a fitness class. Slowing down the intensity doesn’t necessarily mean you stop it. You can still kick, punch and block – do not count yourself out of it. Moreover, lastly, know about your body when practicing taekwondo.
Stepp 3: Know your body when practicing Taekwondo
Strength and Muscles: Aging does take its toll on a human body. Even if we were to put in the same amount of exercise every day, we’d still lose muscle as we grow. As we grow, we tend to lose about 25% of our muscle mass over time.
Now imagine, picking up a log weighing 100 kg at 1/4th of your body strength. How much better do you think would you have done if you had those muscles or were ten years younger? You had some answer in your mind, and so you acknowledge that the strength isn’t the same anymore.
Flexibility: As we grow, our body turns rigid; it takes more time for an older taekwondo practitioner to warm up as compared to a younger one.
Even with flexibility, you cannot hit the limits which once you could and if you’re starting fresh with flexibility, you might find it difficult at first. On the contrary, the benefits of cool down stretching are quite beneficial at the end of the workout.
Reach and Range: Older students cannot enjoy a complete range of motion. Be it spine, shoulders or neck; there’s no full range of motion left. Any kick above the shoulder level can be tough on an older student. Furthermore, additional health issues will add up to the issues.
Reflexes: These have a direct effect on the sparring session. Older students have slow reflexes. Though reflexes do not cause a problem while blocking or practicing forms, it does effect sparring.
Balance: Older students find it difficult to balance their bodies as compared to the younger ones. As a child, you’re fluid and can balance yourself even after you spin for more than ten rounds. However, an adult might feel dizzy just after a couple of rounds. This can be attributed to the decreasing balance in older students.
Vision and Hearing: Our senses start to lose their strength as we grow old, primarily our vision and hearing. Older students find it difficult to keep tabs on quick motions.
I hope this 3-stage guide helped you learn about the following aspects: how to get started with Taekwondo at an old age, what are the implications you must keep in mind and knowing your body while practicing Taekwondo at an older age.