Taekwondo "A new beginning"

by Lee Thurston
(Morecambe, England)

Taekwondo - A new beginning.

Hi. I am Lee. I am 44 yrs of age, and have decided to take up taekwondo after seeing both my daughters enjoy and advance in this interesting martial art.

I should say I have did karate in the past erm about 25 – 26 yrs ago!

Firstly I should say I expect it to involve much hard work , a fair bit of pain and a lot of patience for many reasons.

Not least the fact I am around 20 stones (127kg) in weight and very unfit since giving up as a player manager of a local football team.

And to make it a little harder for myself I am also at this point a smoker.

I realize that for health reasons I need to improve my eating habits and stop the smoking to aid a healthier lifestyle. This is where I hope taking up taekwondo comes in. I hope that through dedicating myself to training and advancement in my gradings I will replace my bad habits with far better mental and physical habits giving me a much richer and fuller life..

Well I did it! I joined my daughters dojang and took my 1st steps. It started with the usual warming up of the muscles, and believe me I found that hard!

But worse was to come when I started doing more vigorous stretching exercises - what a killer those were! 'But no pain no gain' so they say. And this was just the first 20 – 30 minutes. There was still an hour or so to go!

We were then shown how to do our first basics in blocking, kicking and punching. The we I keep mentioning is the other new beginner in the class, a young lad of about 10, don’t I feel like the old man? Ha Ha!

I then was expecting us to go through a warm down process at that point - was I wrong on that score? we were then told we were going to be taught probably the first 6 or 7 moves of the 17 in the first pattern.

We both found it difficult at first, making one or two expected errors but slowly we started remembering when to block, when to kick or punch etc as we started to put together the full 17 moves involved.

I can tell you I had a beaming smile when at the end of trying the pattern without any prompting and getting it correct. Although it was not done as precise and crisp as should be, the black belt instructing us gave us great feedback and congratulated us on performing it so well on first attempt.

I felt like the 10 yr old I was training with and looking round for my mum for that additional pat on the back for being a clever boy. That sounds like I'm a bit sad - but tough get over it, I might be 44 but like all men still a big kid at heart!

Shock horror, Anne, the black belt, then had us warm down for 20 minutes, stretching and shaking our muscles out. And believe me, by that time my body was screaming get the hell out of here!

Luckily I ignored what it was saying otherwise I might be in much, much more pain than I am now. You can call me a glutton for punishment, but I can't wait till my next session as this was great fun and a terrific way to spend an evening and hopefully the rest of my adult life.

Deb's response:

Hi Lee - this is a wonderful and brave story of your first taekwondo class. I know that all of us will identify with parts of it.

You deserve big congratulations for taking the giant step to getting on the mats. And you sound like you are determined to succeed!

My advice is simple. Take it slowly. Listen to your body and just make one commitment to yourself each time you train...

Just promise yourself that you will turn up to the next class and do your best. Do that and everything else will follow.

I for one am really looking forward to hearing how you get on - keep in touch!

Have any other martial artists out there got advice for Lee? You are welcome to add to the comments below.

Comments for Taekwondo "A new beginning"

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Aug 14, 2012

THANK'S LINDA,i want also to continue my tkd lesson but my friend went in Zamboanga already. Can you help me find some place where i can practise tkd? i am a working student at college..but i love to continue my sport. What should i do?

Linda's reply
I would suggest talking to someone in your sports department at the school you go to. They could possibly recommend the nearest school for you.

Once you get a recommendation its always a good idea to go in and observe a class and talk to the instructors.

I wish I could be more help recommending a specific school but I live in Australia and haven't trained in the Phillipines. I have trained with many students/teachers from the Phillipines and have always been impressed with their passion and dedication to their practice.

Good luck!

Jul 26, 2012
I dont know how to do the splits
by: charm grace marie villanueva

I am a beginner taekwondo student who doesn't know how to do the splits. I do not know what I should do to improve my skills in taekwondo. Can I be a taekwondo player? I want to be a taekwondo player like my classmates. I am a 17 year old girl whose aim is to be a taekwondo player someday.

Linda's reply
Flexibility is very important in taekwondo but rarely does anyone show up the first day doing the splits very well!

Stretching and working on your splits are best practiced when you have had a really good warm up. This is when you have the ability to stretch to your maximum.

I would suggest asking your classmates to let you watch one of her taekwondo classes. If you can train with a black belt or in a class, that is the best and safest way to begin your training in taekwondo. Your teachers can see first hand your abilities - physically and mentally, and move you forward at the pace that would suit you.
Good luck and keep me posted on your journey!

Mar 23, 2011
Loved the story
by: Anonymous

I'm a 36 year old mom who started TKD after my husband and daughter started a year ago. I started later due to an operation. But I was almost ready to test for my yellow belt when my husband (he was a level 1 green) tore his ACL and needed surgery. He was on crutches so I had to take a five month break from my TKD classes to take care of him and the house since he could not help while on crutches. I just started back two weeks ago and find myself relearning everything. I am also about 50 lbs overweight so I am hoping this will help shed some pounds also.

Good for you and thanks for posting your story!

Mar 21, 2010
by: Lee

Thanks Tiago, its good too hear its not just us oldies that sometimes struggle in our pursuit of improvement.
I hope your second time around is a lifelong commitment to our sport , and like me i hope our fitness and skills improve immensely.


Mar 18, 2010
Keep it up!
by: Tiago

Hi Lee!
Awsome story. I'm 22 years old but I do identify with that first class. I was like 8 years old when it happened. Meanwhile I stopped but now I'm getting back, and it was about time I tell you. I could do a full splits and now I can barely lift my foot. Boy is it going to be tough. But I guess if it were easy there would be no point on doing it, right?
The best advice is the one I gave myself when I decided to get back on track, the path you're going down is yours alone. Don't compare your progress to others, younger or older. Give it all you can give and you won't need superhuman exploits to be a winner.

Mar 06, 2010
i so hear you!
by: Anonymous

Hey Lee! Keep it up man! I turned 40 in August, but started tae kwon do in June of 2009...I just made blue belt on the 6th of February and we have a tournament on the 20th of March. Best advice I can give you is NEVER EVER GIVE UP ON YOURSELF..EVER!
Just remember, if it was easy-everyone would do it.
Keep kicking and God Bless! Kris

Feb 22, 2010
thanks guys
by: lee

Thanks guys for your feedback it is very encouraging to know i'm amongst a lot of oldies in this haha!! sorry for that.
I am learning the importance of stretching as i am suffering at the mo with a very bad back due to muscle damage while warming up, but hey i'll recover and will certainly take on board all advice given.
Once again thanks all.

Feb 07, 2010
I heard that
by: Anonymous

It's nice to hear everyone's comments. I'm Jeremy I live in Fort Worth TX.I to started late in life.I Stretching has really help me out. I found out that if you walk or ride your bike for 10-15 minutes before stretching the muscles will warm up and make stretching a little easier. I also highly recommend supplements. Lots of amino acids and L-glutamine. This will help your muscles recover fast and reduce the lactic acid in your body.

Feb 06, 2010
by: lee

Thanks Jim ,any advice at this point is very much appreciated , and yes i have realised stretching regularly is definitely the way forward if i want to succeed at tkd , but it doesn't half make these old muscles of mine ache but will certainly continue to do them.
So thanks again for the advice.

Feb 06, 2010
Great Story Lee
by: Neil

Hi Lee

Thanks for submitting your story to the site. I was 41 when I started training so I can identify with your position.

Jim gives great advice - stretching every day is a must!! Otherwise I would say just keep training and stick with it and enjoy the journey.

Feb 04, 2010
I can identify
by: Jim

I joined the local tae kwon do dojang after watching my son do it for 6 months. I was 42 at the time and not in good shape. That was about a year ago and I'm still at it.

My advice, stretch all the time. Twice a day, morning and night, every day. Second, work on hip strength. Your instructors can show you the exercises. Your hips, upper butt, lower back and abs are key players in the kicks.

Starting in your 40s certainly isn't easy, but if you keep at it and refuse to give up, you'll improve. Slowly, day by day.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Taekwondo Stories.

helping you grow through martial arts