Taekwondo is not just for the young–it can also be a great martial arts sport for young people at heart. However, it is easy to assume that Taekwondo is not fit for certain groups of people, such as seniors, because of the force and energy required to participate in regular classes.
Taekwondo Master Instructor Jin Suh understands these typical concerns. With students ranging from preschool age up until late adulthood, he has taught both the young and old about the fundamentals of Taekwondo. If you are a senior considering training for this martial arts sport, Mr. Suh would like to share some things one should know about Taekwondo classes for older adults.
The first thing that seniors need to understand about Taekwondo is that there are training modifications for physical limitations. Children and young adults can mostly focus on the combative classes, but seniors can emphasize movement training.
For movement training in Taekwondo, the basics include:
- Learning the proper stances: Practicing the proper form for punches, kicks, blocks, and movement stances. Jin Suh emphasizes that seniors will be taught to exert a challenging yet safe amount of effort for each individual’s capability, making Taekwondo a great physical activity.
- Coordination: Group classes include doing the stances or “Taekwondo foundations” together, which means seniors will also get to practice mind and body coordination.
- One-to-one training: During movement training, seniors can also increase awareness in proper form as instructors provide one-to-one training apart from the group classes.
If the seniors can participate in combative sessions, they may do so as recommended by their Taekwondo instructor.
Benefits for Seniors
Another facet that Master Instructor Jin Suh wants people to learn about Taekwondo for seniors is its many advantages. Below are some positive things one can get from learning Taekwondo:
- Form of physical activity: If you have trouble staying with a physical activity routine, Taekwondo classes may be a great fit since instructors can keep you accountable per class.
- Mental strength: Seniors are also prone to neurological conditions such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s. Practicing Taekwondo helps in stimulating one’s brainpower, staving off the risk of neurological disorders.
- Socialization: groups often do taekwondo classes, so it is a great place to meet like-minded people with whom you can form friendships.
- Personal fulfillment: Learning new skills translates to higher levels of personal satisfaction. As seniors age, they often feel like they are going through life without a purpose. Learning Taekwondo can be another achievement that seniors can be proud of.
Taekwondo’s physical, mental, and emotional benefits show that even seniors can experience positive things when learning this traditional martial art sport. It provides stimulation for the brain and body while allowing one to experience companionships outside their comfort zone.
Some seniors might hesitate regarding their commitment to taking Taekwondo classes, just as with any other physical activity, learning Taekwondo can be as flexible as you want. Most centers let you choose the classes you only want to take, have certain instructors, or work with groups or one-to-one sessions.
The flexibility in learning Taekwondo assures that you’re going to start at a comfortable pace. If you’re someone who does not have a background in learning any martial arts, you can ask for recommendations on the classes you want to take. During sign-up, you can also discuss certain concerns such as:
- Health conditions: Are there health conditions such as joint problems, heart disease, respiratory issues that may be of concern while you take Taekwondo classes? These are things you can discuss with your instructor to help you create a custom-fit class.
- Personal preferences: Some seniors have personal or religious concerns about taking martial arts classes. There are also options to modify classes based on these individual preferences.
- Schedule concerns: Give pointers on the schedule that you can commit to, such as once a week, on the weekends, or an MWF class.
Equipment, Clothing, and Other Protocols
Taekwondo expert Mr. Suh also emphasizes that the goal of teaching martial arts to seniors is to give the right amount of challenge while accommodating certain limitations.
Thus, the equipment, clothing, and other processes done during Taekwondo lessons can change. For example, seniors can choose not to wear the typical robe but focus mainly on exhibiting Taekwondo’s stances. They can, alternatively, wear comfortable clothing and their Taekwondo belt. Other modifications include using sparring pads on different levels and intensities as compared to young adult Taekwondo. Although still upholding proper form, the training won’t be as rigid as the typical Taekwondo as the purpose for most seniors is physical activity and mental clarity.
The considerations mentioned above are proofs that Taekwondo can be excellent for any age. Truly, the minimum requirement is the desire and determination to start martial arts training whether one is young or old.
Taekwondo for Seniors: Breaking Barriers and Stereotypes
Hopefully, as explained by Taekwondo Master Jin Suh, the basics give you a clearer picture of how training is done for seniors. As you consider taking Taekwondo classes, may these things help assure you that you can pursue martial arts at any age as long as you are willing.