Scream it with us from the mountaintops: NO! You are never too old to start learning karate. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise needs a karate chop on the noggin!
Whether you’re in your 30s, 40s, or 80s, it is never too late to start learning karate. Unless you’re dreaming of becoming a karate world champion or professional fighter, there’s no reason to believe that age should hold you back.
Simply put, the best age to start learning karate is whatever age you are now!
Benefits of Karate for Adults
Physical and mental fitness is important at any age, but it’s especially important the older we get. Exercise is scientifically proven to slow the effects of aging, prevent mental decline, and preserve our health.
Learning a new hobby like karate, which trains you physically, mentally, and even spiritually, can transform your body and bring you a new sense of accomplishment no matter what age or fitness level you start at.
Whether you’re interested in learning self-defense, taking up a hobby to improve your fitness, or are interested in the traditions of East Asian martial arts, it’s never too late to reap the benefits of learning karate!
Is Karate Hard to Learn?
One of the most common concerns for adult students of karate is how difficult it is to learn.
Simply put, karate is easy to start learning, but difficult to master. Most adults will be able to master the fundamentals of the sport within a reasonable amount of time. As you progress, the level of difficulty will increase.
A useful visual aid for imagining progress in learning karate is the “Hockey Stick Growth” chart.
Hockey Stick Growth
Imagine that the tip of the hockey stick blade is the starting point of an absolute beginner in karate. The end of the blade, where the shaft of the stick begins, is where a beginner has mastered the fundamentals of karate. The endpoint of the shaft represents a karate master.
As you can see, you will experience a ton of growth at the beginning over a relatively short period of time. Learning the fundamentals of karate, such as proper balance and the correct forms for punches and kicks, is easier than you probably think! However, the road to mastery is a much longer one.
Learning any new skill will present challenges. Becoming proficient in any new skill will require time and effort. Often as adults, we feel more self-conscious about ourselves when trying something new. Adult learners often feel discouraged by the level of difficulty presented by learning new skills.
Don’t allow yourself to be discouraged! It is a misconception that children are inherently superior learners to adults. Learning karate can be done at any age, and the good news is that there is a low barrier to entry in terms of difficulty.
Common Karate Lessons for Adult Beginners
Great news for any older person interested in learning karate: most karate dojos offer beginner lessons for adults!
The beginning of most karate classes involves a warm-up session. The karate instructor may vary the intensity based on the needs of the class. You can expect dynamic stretches that will prepare you for whatever techniques are going to be drilled later in the class.
Beginner lessons will revolve around the basics, known in karate as Kihon. Adult learners just starting out will learn the proper form and technique for stances, punches, kicks, and blocking. This can be done either stationary or while moving.
Once the form is mastered, the next step is learning Kata, drills that will teach you how to flow from one position to another. This can be done solo or in pairs. The instructor may advance to Ippon Kumite, which are drills derived from the Kata that are specifically meant to teach self-defense.
The next stage would be Jiju Kumite or free sparring. Beginners are not expected to participate in these sparring sessions and can opt out, though those that are brave enough can try.
Classes conclude with a cool-down session, which usually involves static stretches to improve flexibility and prevent injury.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you’re too old to start learning karate. The truth is, there are many karate classes tailor-made for adult beginners at every level of fitness. Finding the right class for you will help propel you on your karate journey.
Read the whole article at Kwunion.com.