I’m going to be covering the question of am I too old to start training in martial arts. The answer to that is it all depends on your age in relation to your goals with training for martial arts. For example, is your goal in your martial arts training to become physically fit? Is it to be combat effective? With that in mind your age and your overall physical fitness is going to determine the answer to the question am I too old to start training in martial arts.
Now first off if you’re in your twenties you are definitely not too old to be starting martial arts. I hear people say that all the time that they didn’t start when they were a kid, I can never be good. Granted you aren’t going to be as good as somebody who’s started at age four and is now twenty-five and they’ve been doing it all their lives. You’re not going to have any chance of catching up to them unless they injure themselves or they stop training for the next ten to fifteen years while you start training and do it consistently.
That being said there are other ways to match your skill to theirs if that’s a concern of yours. One thing to do is to simply improve your skill in an area that they don’t have. This person has been training taekwondo their whole life hasn’t had training in jujitsu or boxing. That’s something you can train alongside your taekwondo training to sort of get an edge up on them to close that gap with experience.
But as far as physically goes, if you’re in your twenties and you’re in you know decent shape then there’s really no reason why you can’t start martial arts. It’ll take a bit longer to sort of build flexibility you know anywhere from about two to four years. As opposed to you know being a child and being very malleable and you can sort of gain flexibility within a year or less. If your goal is fitness than twenty is not too young. If your goal is combat effectiveness than twenty is not too young you just have to make sure you dedicate the amount of time and consistent training.
If you’re in your thirties the same thing pretty much applies. If you’re in decent shape and those are your two goals, fitness or combat effectiveness. than it’s just a matter of devoting consistent time to training and having a little bit of patience with your flexibility.
Let’s say you’re getting into your forties and fifties. Well then that’s when a little bit more of the the question of what your goals with your martial arts training starts to come in to play. If your goal is to be combat effective and your body is still in decent shape, when I say that I don’t mean so much you know your body fat, I mean do you have accumulated injuries throughout life. If you had bad knees from football in high school or have a bad elbow from your job or anything like that that’s definitely going to factor in your effectiveness with certain martial arts. For example high impact martial arts like taekwondo or kickboxing will take a toll on your joints and if your joints of are you taking a beating over your lifetime then that may not be the martial art you want to start. You may want to consider more of a soft style of martial art like tai chi.
So let’s say you’re in your twenties and thirties and you’re in really bad shape. You’re really out of shape, really overweight but it’s your passion, you want to start martial arts training. Are you too old? If your goal is to become combat effective then for you it’s going to be a little bit more of an uphill battle. I would suggest before jumping into a hard style versus soft style you might dedicate a little bit of time beforehand to just basic fitness training. Start walking a couple of miles every couple of days until you start to feel your fitness improve. Then you know moving up to a jog then improve your diet a bit so you can cut back on some of the weight so the training will be a little bit easier, little bit safer on your joints. Once you get that little bit of a basic jump start with your fitness then you can hop right into the training for combat effectiveness and a hard style now.
If your goal isn’t to be combat effective and it’s just fitness and you can skip with the preparation and just go straight to jumping into martial arts training with the soft styles. Something that isn’t so high impact and of course that will be an excellent way to lose weight in itself or to get back into shape as long as you’re eating sensibly. You should be able to jump right into that.
So I guess to sum it up when you’re asking yourself that question am I too old to start in martial arts it really just comes down to what are your goals and how old does your body feel? For me I’m pushing thirty one and my body feels like it’s fifty. I’ve just accumulated so many injuries throughout my martial arts career. Even though to normal people standards I’m still a young person my body has gone through so much physical trauma as any fifty year old. If you’re wanting to start a martial art for combat effectiveness then those old injuries will be a factor in how effective you can be with that certain styles you choose so it’s very important when you’re choosing a martial art to research it and decide if that something you’ll be able to physically do.
I’ll leave you with an anecdote. When I was younger and training we had this guy come in who was forty nine. He first started with a white belt. Over the years he just kept coming in and training once or twice a week and by the time he was fifty four he became a black belt. He ended up being one of the most flexible males in class. It was pretty inspiring.
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