Are You “Too Old” For Taekwondo?
MothershipSG released an article about Lynn Soh, a 77-year-old granny, but also a Taekwondo practitioner who just attained her black belt after going through frequent training where she managed to have her chronic back pain and knee issues alleviated.
Having only started around the age of 73 years old, she now serves as an inspiration to everyone out there who has an interest in the sport but is afraid to join.
Granny Soh said: "Please don't wait. Go for it. Don't say no, the more you say it, the more you look at the ceiling on your bed!"
Is there an age limit to learn Taekwondo? There is no age limit to learning Taekwondo as people live longer and healthier. A 94-year-old man in Indiana is the oldest American to receive a sixth-degree black belt in Taekwondo.
Many people reckon that martial arts are an activity that one has to start practicing from a very young age.
- Like most sports, Taekwondo practitioners need to have some athletic abilities, physical self-defense skills, and flexibility — all of which are closely related to people of young ages who have greater physical strength and the ability to move around.
- Indeed, as young as five years old, even before they begin primary school, kids attend training academies to pick up this sport.
However, despite these characteristics, Taekwondo has no specific age limit.
There are young adults in university and even adults who take interest in it at a later stage of life. Of course, it is harder for those at an older age to train, given the reduced likelihood of strength and flexibility. But this doesn’t mean it is impossible to learn the sport.
- Contrary to popular belief, older people are still able to increase various athletic abilities like their flexibility and balance, progressing to the middle to higher belt levels.
- One is never too old for Taekwondo! It may be terrifying and challenging for a young adult or an elderly to start learning martial arts.
However, there are many benefits for an older person to pick up this sport, especially at a later age where physical health, as well as mental health, become even more critical to maintain, and Taekwondo can help train both the physical body and the mind.
First of all, Taekwondo is a sport that requires frequent training that will build up strength and flexibility, so training will involve lots of exercises that will help you build up muscle and clock in movement that becomes especially crucial at an older age.
To begin, Taekwondo consists of both Poomsae and Kyorugi.
- The Poomsae is “a set of systematic series of movements”, which “helps in the development of rhythm, balance, coordination, endurance, patience, muscles, discipline and proper breath control”. (ACME taekwondo)
- The Kyorugi, otherwise known as sparring, may then be a little harder for you at an older age.
Nonetheless, taekwondo training still allows you to have plenty of opportunities for physical movement such as stretching. In Taekwondo, stretching is as important as physical training (PT) to build up strength and muscle.
- Stretching is beneficial for everyone no matter their age. It increases your flexibility, which allows you to have a healthy range of motion in the joints, helping you achieve the frequency range of movement necessary to continue an active lifestyle that is increasingly important as you get older.
- A PT-focused training teaching you the variety of kicks in Taekwondo then helps to get your heart rate up and allows you to work on every part of your body, from your arms to your core, legs, and even the glutes.
- Having a sustained active lifestyle is important, so if you’re interested in this particular sport, don’t be deterred by your concerns about age, for you can do something you’re interested in while keeping fit!
Taekwondo is also beneficial for your mental and emotional health, imparting soft skills like discipline, respect, resilience, and concentration that will help train and boost your mindset and attitude in the face of difficulties. For people who start learning the sport at an older age, it is inevitable that you will face certain challenges along the way, especially if you are not familiar with physical training or stretching exercises — the various forms and stances (Figures 1 and 2) will require you to fully concentrate, push to the best of your abilities and go out of your comfort zone.
Figure 1: The basic stances for taekwondo
Figure 2: A high kick in taekwondo
It won’t be easy to maintain these stances and take part in endurance training for your punches, or to kick as high as the adult in figure 2, especially if you are not accustomed to such a range of motion. But Taekwondo trains your resilient mindset by making it necessary for you to pick up these various forms. Practice is important and often, people see their flexibility and stamina improve greatly.
Taekwondo enables you to understand the phrase “ If you set your mind to it and work hard, you can accomplish anything”.
Day by day and bit by bit, you will see improvements in your ability to endure these different punches, kicks, and stances if you put in the effort. This requires a lot of resilience and concentration as you push yourself to learn how your body can move and the limits of your body.
Taekwondo is therefore a confidence booster that teaches you to persevere through challenges and also allows you to see the fruits of your hard work. You are never too old for taekwondo, which not only serves as a form of physical exercise but also a mental and social exercise.
You may feel that the sport is something out of your comfort zone and scary for you as an adult entering the sport you commonly associate with younger people, but the environment will be supportive and you will also find that you can push yourself to do things that you thought you never could!
Regardless of your age, Taekwondo offers a variety of benefits for you. You are not too old to care about your health. Taekwondo ensures you stretch frequently, which is something that people should do often, especially at an older age where the joints become extremely important to take care of.
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