Taekwondo from the Perspective of a Late Starter

11:59:00 AM Tkd kwan 15 Comments

Taekwondo from the Perspective 
of a Late Starter

I was asked to contribute an article for this blog, and I thought, what could someone brand new to this martial art have to say about Taekwondo? Not only am I a white belt, I'm a late starter.  It's been a couple decades since I did any organized sports and several years since I did any consistent exercise program. Initially I was looking for something to help me with balance and discipline. However, Taekwondo has given me so much more.

For my first class, I happened to be the only student that night, and the master kindly showed me some of the basics, so I could get some idea of this martial art. After one class, I decided to come back, and I was met with a group of black belts. Ah, so overwhelming! But I survived that class. Then I went back for a third, and fourth and fifth class, every time extremely nervous, but excited.  It was hard, and I realized quickly that if I didn't exercise and practice in between classes, I would have a hard time surviving the class. So I began to practice at home.  

Then an amazing opportunity came up. I had decided to go to Korea for a two week holiday, and I mentioned this to the master. He was glad for me and asked if I'd like to meet his grand master. 
I agreed. Then my teacher suggested that I actually train with his grandmaster!  How could I, a lowly white belt of just 6 weeks, even consider it?! But I decided to do it, and for a few days while I was in Seoul, a grandmaster patiently taught me some basic footwork, breaking down the steps so that I was able to digest them and put them into practice.  

At that point I decided that Taekwondo wasn't going to be just 
a passing hobby, but something I truly wanted to pursue. I began talking about Taekwondo to everyone I knew. I just couldn't stop talking about this fantastic experience, so much so that one of my friends decided to come with me, and now she, too, is attending Taekwondo classes and loves it. She in turn has brought another friend and we are the three white belts in our group. 

Taekwondo for me is not just a physical, but also a mental and at times an emotional exercise. Physically there is the aspect of strength, speed and balance, all things I currently lack, but am slowly improving in. Mentally as a beginner I find I am thinking through every kick, where to put my foot, how to angle my hips, and so on. I know these things will someday (hopefully!) become second nature. Later will come the strategic thinking involved when sparring, as I learned from watching my classmates compete. Emotionally there is frustration and impatience when I am unable to do the kicks and punches correctly, but perseverance is part of what Taekwondo is all about. 

Taekwondo has so many benefits. It has given me better health and a fresh take on life. I now have new goals I never expected to have, like passing my first belt test, and someday maybe even earning 
a black belt. Additionally, I've met wonderful people who share 
a passion for this martial art and who so graciously share their knowledge with us white belts. This martial art is for any age and starting point, and I am proof of that. I hope more people consider taking up Taekwondo so they too can discover the joy and benefits of this martial art. As for me, as long as circumstances allow, I will go as far as I can in this discipline. I'm so glad that I started training in Taekwondo, and I look forward to the journey that is to come.

- B.D. 


  1. I started wtf Tkd a year back at the age of 32. Before that the last sports or exercise I did was approximately 10 years back when I was in college. I took up Tkd for learninjhg self defence and improving my health which took a toll over the years of inactivity.Presently I am a yellow belt, have improved my health and fighting techniques.

    1. Awesome story. I began my journey at 52 5 months ago. I spent my younger years in professional musical theater and dancing was everything. How TKD has given me such a wonderful new set of goals and asperations. Currently Green Stripe and on the journey to earn my Black Belt. Wishing you continued success and please post when you earn your Black Belt.

    2. Awesome story. I began my journey at 52 5 months ago. I spent my younger years in professional musical theater and dancing was everything. How TKD has given me such a wonderful new set of goals and asperations. Currently Green Stripe and on the journey to earn my Black Belt. Wishing you continued success and please post when you earn your Black Belt.

  2. I am a 41 year old female, and started learning Taekwondo 3 yrs ago. I have always been an athlete, however mostly in my younger years. I also had not done much in the prior years but I was in pretty good shape to begin with. Then, I found WTF TKD! WooooooW! I must tell you, I did get pregnant with twins as a complete surprise about a year into my WTF TKD! So, I took a year off 4 months into my prenancy. TODAY, I am a blue belt shortly to earn my brown stripe, AND 1 sparring championship under my belt. I am about 50 lbs. overweight still from the twins, but I am unchallenged as the most flexible person in class period, and by far the STRONGEST FEMALE!! My strength is in sparring. Thank you, good luck, and as I say, TKD TILL I DIE!!!!!!! ;)


  3. I started at 23 just finished college without any previous experience began only as a hobby but now I am 29 years , black belt 1st Dan and I never miss a single class. WTF TKD for life ! (I want to be a teacher someday )

  4. I started TKD at 53....black belt and an official TKD trainer's license at 60....we scientifically proved TKD to be beneficial (SEKWONDO Study).I often wonder why the official TKD bodies neglect adult and elderly TKD beginners. There lies great potential here!!

  5. I started taekwondo This year early September , I am 38 Thursday, I suffer from a ankylosis spondilys, and didn't practice sport since 98/99, in 1 month hard training I almost do a lateral split, get a better Health and can do things I would never think I could do, it is hard for me at cardio intense things, but I don't give up, and love taekwondo, I feel in love with that new beginning to my health And a passion to feed, I am in the Legs sannois club in France, and proud to be a late taekwondoin.
    I would just say to all late starter, keep pushing it, and you will be proud of what you can do, it will improve so beneficial things to yo, to the mind and body :)

  6. Hi I am 37 years old and I had practiced ITF taekwondo in my teens. I was a half rank from a black and quit to go to college. now 20 years later I am advancing my nursing degree to practitioner and Have taken Taekwondo back up with my black belt daughter. It has helped tremendously in my stress relief. I also compete and have may trophys to show. I have always loved this sport and plan to get my black belt within the years and either persue instructor status or dual black belt in MMA. I love the sport of martial arts!!

  7. My wife wanted to do some classes after watching our children train for a few months. I agreed to train with her in spite of being 37 with a broken body from years of neglected posture and ignorant bio mechanics. I've broken numerous bones (my own,) torn many muscles, and spent a couple of years in constant pain. TKD taught me to persevere. Today my wife and children are black belts, and at 43 I am black belt 2nd Dan in the best shape of my life.
    I advise all adults to train in TKD for personal growth, both physically and mentally. I would encourage all TKD students to not limit their experience by making 'becoming a black belt' their goal. The TKD journey extends far beyond the rank of black belt. With many schools giving ranks based solely on how long you've trained, more than ever you will get out of your training only what you put into it. Personally I see myself not as a black belt, but as a canvas. A lot of it has been covered with a colorful portrait of acquired skills and knowledge. But I'm more excited to find out how much more my canvas will hold than how much is on it now. I enjoy witnessing the portraits my follow TKD students are creating just as much.

  8. I am 52 years old and now a senior green belt, on my way to becoming a black belt. I love TKD and so glad I listened to my instructor Grady Young that I wasn't to old to begin. If all goes well I should reach recommended black belt in April of 2019. And we all know that is truly the beginning of our journey. Never give up!

  9. I started TKD at 50, 7 years ago. I started with my teen son to get him off the couch and away from "call of duty" for a few hours a week. When I learned a few basic techniques and tied the white belt around my waist I was hooked and immediately knew I would get a black belt no matter how long it took. 4 years ago we moved and I couldn't find a new school and almost quit. But that wasn't an option. 2 years ago I found a wonderful school. I am 57 and got my black belt 3 weeks ago. Now I am excited to train for the next chapter in my development as a martial artist. There is so much still to learn. I have bad knees, arthritis everywhere. I don't care, I love TKD and will train until...

  10. I started Taekwondo at age 30 with buddies that were greenbelts at that time. We studied Moo Duk Kwan style with Palgwe, then adding WTF Taegeuks for Kukkiwon certification.

    Advanced to First Dan in 1988. After that promotion is when the true learning began.

    There is the physical growth aspect followed by the mental growth aspect, then spiritual development in the art.

    Currently I hold 3rd Dan, and having moved to another city, my current Master, a 6th Dan, adds a new dimension, efficiency of movement in Poomsae to conserve energy, as well as breakdown each movement to details and timing aspects.

    I am currently 63, so hail to all those that have posted; the best that Taekwondo will give you is yet to come. Keep on kicking.

  11. I too started at age 54. I can only say it is never to late . This was barely two years ago . I was always a Sports person but because of personal issues did not do any sports and at one point it became clear that I want and need to do something. In the past i had some experience with martial arts . Therefore , I looked into that and found just the place for me. It made my life so much better ,physically and mentaly since I began Taekwondo .

  12. I started TKD at 59. After 7 years and two major surgeries (hip replacement and laparoscopic gastric sleeve) I am a 2nd dan black belt and preparing to test next August for my 3rd Dan. As I prepare for retirement I am looking forward to teaching TKD full time.

  13. I started formally learning Taekwando at the start of 2018 when I was 44! From a white belt, I am now a blue tip at the tail end of 2018 having received two doubles over three grading tests. If I had not tried, I never would have known what i can achieve. So ... for anyone considering Taekwando in your middle ages, just give it a try. Do not over think. Just try it.