Never tried a martial art before?
Will I stand out?
No, do not feel that you are unusual in starting as an adult. Many people start as adults here in Wirral and at schools all over the country, they usually say its the best decision they ever made.
At Wirral UKTA we have had new adult starters from 18 year olds to mid 50's, whilst instructors I know from elsewhere have had starters in their classes who are in their 60's or even 70's. You are not alone by any means.
We don't know what to expect from you when you arrive, but we treat everyone as an individual. During initial warm ups you will not need, or be expected to have, a high level of fitness. We start off pretty basic. However, if you are someone who is already fairly fit and wants to be pushed you can let us know.
Beginners often worry about flexibility but we don't expect adult or even teenage beginners to be very flexible. Whatever your level, it will improve, no matter what your age, it is something we work on each lesson.
You won't do any sparring at all at first, and when you start it will initially be without any contact. You will have plenty of opportunities to watch more experienced members sparring before you do any yourself.
What can you expect during the first few lessons?
There is a lot to taekwon-do and we vary activities from lesson to lesson. What happens in your first lesson probably won't be the same as what happens in your second or third lessons.
Over the first 6 weeks or so, you will spend time with various partners working on kicking, punching, striking and blocking to targets such as focus pads, or punch bags etc. You will work individually or in a small group practicing pattern moves. You will also work as part of a whole class practicing movements - for this, as a beginner, you will always be at the back so you can copy those in front, and need not feel self conscious as no-one will see you other than instructors.
When you are paired up with other adults we usually pair you with someone of similar size and who is keen to help. You will also spend time one-to-one with an instructor. This way, you will get to know the other members of the school.
Adults make much faster progress than kids. Adults are keen to learn, practice, and move to the next level. They tend to be more committed. If you put in the time, you won't be a beginner long.
Fear of failure or making a show of yourself?
In the words of Franklin D Roosevelt "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself". You only fail if you don't begin. You won't make a show of yourself, people of all levels spend some lesson time trying to perfect new techniques. No-one stands out.
Not everyone is interested in competitions, but if you are, you can compete from yellow belt (2 grades up from beginner), which may be in only a few short months. At competitions you will meet other adult coloured belts, if you are over 40 you will be in the veteran's coloured belt category. Here you will begin to appreciate just how many people start at all ages of adulthood.
It's daunting, a bit like going back to school
Adults can find it hard to be a beginner as they have accomplished things in their lifetime and it has been so long since they were in a class situation learning something new. I can empathise having gone 'back to school' as an adult to learn French with a class of 16/17 year olds, but to them I was just another student, after initial reservations, I totally enjoyed it.
Previous Taekwon-do or martial arts experience?
I have forgotten everything
You may feel you have forgotten techniques or details, or you may feel that you have lost your fitness or flexibility. We find that all these things come back quite quickly, however if they don't, it doesn't matter, you can learn it again, you will enjoy it again.
There will be expectations of me
Over the many years I've been teaching if I've learned one thing its not to expect anything of anyone. Whether you tell us you previously achieved 3rd dan, or if you tell us you did a few months training 20 years ago, it really doesn't matter. We will start from the beginning, if you remember lots we will move up in minutes or hours. If you remember less we will work up slower. If you remember nothing it really doesn't matter, you will be like any other beginner.
If you achieved your grade with a different association then there may be differences, but we will work with them. Over the years we have had people with coloured belts and black belts from several other associations. We have also had people from other martial arts at various levels. We will work with you, we are experienced teachers.
Some people prefer not to wear their old belt (particularly a black belt) until they have refreshed their skills. This is OK, you can wear pants and t. shirt initially, or you can wear a lower colour belt until your confidence comes back if this is what you prefer.
You may have been taught incorrect techniques, or be afraid that you might have been. If this is the case don't worry, it does not reflect on you and these can soon be put right.
I want / don't want to keep my grade
Some people who have previously achieved a Taekwon-do grade say they want to start again at white belt and that is OK if that's what suits you. You will probably move up the grades far quicker than the average beginner.
Other people are keen to keep the grades they've worked for elsewere and most of the time this is fine too. However, those coming from unrecognised associations may have to be considered on an individual basis. If this is of concern to you please ask and we can discuss it in more detail.
My style might have been different
Within TKD there are some variations amongst organisations, we would expect you to learn to do things the way we do in the ITF if you are to remain a member of our school, although this is not a reason not to accept your grade, and we have found that people can make these minor changes fairly quickly.
I don't want to be treated as a beginner, I want to show what I can do.
That's great, you will be taught from the level you are at.
Other people may see me as different
We have several current members who have done other martial arts in the past (Karate, jiu Jitsu, Kung Fu, Judo) , or who have done Taekwon-do elsewhere. People are not judgemental, it is a talking point of interest and we can all learn something from eachother.
Come and Try
Get in touch if you would like to arrange a trial with no obligation. Come and give it a go, what have you got to lose?
Come and Watch
If you would like to come and watch a class or have a chat before trying, get in touch to arrange a time. There is no obligation