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Martial Arts Workouts For Men Over 40

Apr 8, 2008
If you begin martial arts workouts when you are over 40 prepare for the jokes: Tae Kwon Old, Senior Do, Health Care-a-te or Kung Old Fool. When someone asks me in the locker room about getting in shape I joke, "I'm aging so fast, I can't see my shape let alone get in it."

I discovered taekwondo in my forties. A series of seemingly random circumstances took me to the school of the Grandmaster who would become my teacher, Byung Min Kim.

First, I was out to dinner with an old friend whom, I discovered, was a black belt in tae kwon do. He had been practicing, on and off, since he was a child. Also, I had a young son who I thought would benefit from a martial arts program. Finally, I had a chance meeting with my future Master. I am a retail real estate broker, and I had the good fortune of offering a store to Grandmaster Kim. I didn't sell him, but luckily he sold me.

The expectations of an adult male, no matter how old, when they begin martial arts instruction is the same as a child's. You wistfully remember David Caradine, James Bond, Bruce Lee or Napoleon Solo in any of the popular movies and television shows of the 1950's and 60's.

I just wanted to be deadly...and really handsome!

Shortly after beginning to this new martial arts exercise, I went to my doctor with what I was sure was an appendicitis attack. He assured me that I was just sore, from doing sit ups. I was out of shape.

Although I had been an avid exerciser in my 20's, I had pushed off that regular routine after getting married and having children. But now in my forties, I couldn't breath during simple recreational tennis or volleyball. The simplest workout found me out of breath. I no longer had the endurance to dance with my wife.

I decided to do something different. Within the same week, I started tae kwon do and piano lessons (middle age is so confusing).

Tae kwon do has been a seed planted inside me. When I give it what it needs to grow, it takes root. If you have started this journey, you know what I'm saying. But if tae kwon do is new to you, I guarantee you that great changes are coming. Should you be starting later in life, like I did, I want to give you this equation:

Maturity = (patience + perseverance)-(flexibility + hair).

Believe in the long term. Those are words I live by. Always pay attention to what your body is telling you, not just what your mind wants. Too many adults come to their martial arts class believing they are still 21 only to try too hard or stretch too much because it was easy when they were younger.

It's the job of the Instructor to motivate the class which includes many ages and skill levels. Your head will be telling you that you can do this, your body on the other hand will need more time. Beware of overachieving goals that can lead to injuries because such injuries could convince you to quit. A self fulfilling prophecy that you were too old to be doing martial arts anyway.


You can't understand the journey with one step; you can only understand one step of the journey, stick with it.

If a teacher is asking too much just remember, you're an adult student and age has its advantages. A good master will see your limitations and teach you in view of that which is where you build trust. And shy of that, trust your inner master.

I know I'm too old for Rock-n-roll, but I'm definitely too young to give it up.
About the Author
Before you choose if your too old for martial arts, visit Kalynn Amadio's terrific martial arts website Taekwondo-Network and learn more about mens workouts in tae kwon do when you're over 40. Keep in mind that, age is only a number.
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