How can I start karate/taekwondo?

I’m a senior in high school who’s interested in starting either karate or taekwondo, and I’m wondering how can I? I mean, the local group here, all the people my age are basically black belts, and if I were to start, would I be with the 6 year olds? I don’t want to end up being like Dwight from the Office 😛

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7 Responses to How can I start karate/taekwondo?

  1. FatPrince101 says:

    Just open your yellow pages and look under the ‘martial arts’ section. Choose a few gyms which you like the look of and is close to your home, then ask if they can provide you with some trial sessions (usually one, maximum two- if they do not offer you any free lessons then don’t go). See if you like it. If you do, stay. If you don’t, then just go to the next gym on your list!

    About your other question though, yes. That could be a possibility. However, don’t be ashamed! If you are good enough, you will eventually advance faster than they do (for example, I learned taekwondo before I joined my World Taekwondo Federation gym and, after a year, I was two ranks higher than the people who had had no prior experience). Also, when it comes to sparring, they would put you with someone that is of your same height. So no worries!

    Welcome to martial arts buddy!

    P.S. Whatever you do though, do NOT join gyms affliated with the American Taekwondo Association. They are the biggest scam around in America. If you want further details, email moi :)

  2. joe says:

    Noo you would train with you age its just they would be going hard on you to see if you can take it just go in there with a good attitude to train and dont let nothing stop you you wont be know where near the six year olds

  3. Dr Sheldon Cooper says:

    it’s the confidence things, just turn up and try a few lessons, if you don’t like it you don’t have to go back but if you don’t try then you’ll never know

  4. J says:

    I can’t say for certain, but typically, anyway, most schools would never put you in the kids class seeing as your a senior in HS. You would be with the adults.

    Don’t let it bother you that others your age are basically black belts. I knew a kid that would go on and on about how he was a black belt. By his advise, I went to his class and could see his techniques were lousy and I was only a beginner myself at the time. We sparred and I was on equal grounds with him. I think it hurt him a little. So don’t let it bother you. They might not even be as great as you think. And besides, black belt isn’t even a “mastery level” as everyone makes it out to be. Black belt is actually the true beginning of martial arts. Everything up to it is cute by comparison.

  5. Rynok says:

    First, take a look in the yellow pages under “Martial Arts.” Most will list what martial arts they teach, though you might have to call some and ask (though some will list a website that you can check on). You could also ask people (since you indicated you already know some people your age who are black belts).

    Take a look at those in your area that are within whatever distance you’re willing (and able) to travel, and take a look at them. Most schools offer a certain amount of free lessons (usually a certain amount of classes you can attend, or a certain time period – usually a week – where you can attend any classes during that time), and/or will allow you to go and watch.

    Cost is also something to keep in mind, since different schools charge different amounts, so it’s important to ask before committing to anything (and, rather obviously, rule out any schools you – or whomever’s paying for it if you’re not – that is out of your price range).

    Then, when you’ve decided on a school, sign up and have fun!

    And don’t worry about being stuck in with the little kids – practically all martial arts schools have separate classes for adults and kids (and sometimes a separate class for teens, though at your age, if the school you go to does this, they’d probably have you meet with the adults).

  6. Eliza Wong says:

    I think it depends on how they organize the class. But I personally reccomend that you train in a Karate Dojo. TKD dojangs tend to be blackbelt mills. Not saying that there arent any Karate blackbelt mills…

    I’ve been to one TKD Dojang, and one Karate Dojo.

    In my TKD dojang, it wasnt very organized (thank God I quit).
    They would seperate people by belt level regardless of age. So 16 year olds could end up training with 9 year olds. Sparring sucks there because if you’re the older one you will ALWAYS have to hold back.

    In my Karate Dojo, when we practice sparring, defensive techniques, or kicking practice; the sensei partners people up according to their height. So you dont have to hold back since your partner is the same height as you.

    But when you practice Kata, you are seperated by belt levels. Because each belt level practice a different kata. And in kata, you dont need a partner to practice with you.

    Maybe you can go look for a Dojo or Dojang that you like. Ask them if they have an adult class. Ask the instructor or sensei if you can watch the class.

  7. Gareth says:

    Firstly find our where your local clubs are, do a internet search for “‘my town” karate clubs”. Or look in the phone book. Also ask at local gyms and sports centres. Then visit the ones close to you and speak with each instructor and observe their class. Get a feel for which one is best. They should be knowledgeable, well disciplined yet helpful and pay close attention to correct application of technique.

    If they come across as “macho”, only seem interested in fighting or make you promises of gradings every 3-4 months and a black belt in under 5 years then steer clear. Also experience count for a lot with instructors (often more than grade).

    As for your local club being mostly black belts. Firstly you will train in your age group (16+) regardless of grade. So you will be training with the adult black belts not 6 yr olds. However don’t let that bother you. I am a white belt in Wado-Ryu Karate and personally I enjoy classes where the average grade is high. Remember you will not be doing contact fighting with them for a while and even if you do it will be controlled. For the first months and even years of your training you will be doing line technique practise, kata. and controlled partner work (different to sparring). I find doing all those things with grades higher than me an advantage. In line technique and kata you can use them for guidance, or even follow or copy them while you’re learning. And in partner work they will usually guide you, point out your poor technique and tell you how to correct it. This means you get instruction for all around you, not just your instructor. I actually prefer doing partner work my instructor.

    Just ensure you do get enough one to one time while you instructor for you own development of good technique and grading curriculum.

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