As an adult, beginning a new activity or joining a new club can be daunting. When adults contact us they often have reservations, the following information aims to address some of those reservations. If you are such a person, I hope this will put your mind at rest.
Never tried a martial art before?
Will I stand out?
No, you are not unusual starting as an adult. Many people start as adults here in Wirral and at schools all over the country, they usually say it's the best decision they ever made.
At Wirral UKTA we have had new adult starters from 18 year olds to early 60's.
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, let us know.
Beginners often worry about flexibility but we don't expect adult or teenage beginners to be very flexible. Whatever your level or age, it will improve.
You won't do any sparring at first, and when you start it will initially be without 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 few weeks, you will spend time with various partners, kicking, punching, and striking targets such as focus pads. You will practice pattern moves individually or in a small group. You will also work as part of a whole class practicing fundamental movements, but as a beginner, you will always be at the back so you can copy those in front, and need not feel self conscious.
When you are paired up with others 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 faster progress than kids. They tend to be more committed. If you put in the time, you won't be a beginner for 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. 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 from beginner). At competitions you will meet other adult coloured belts. There are divisions for ages under 35, over 35 and over 40. Here you will 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 a while since they were in a class situation learning something new, but don't worry, it's a great feeling to get learning again.
Previous Taekwon-do or other martial arts experience?
I have forgotten everything
You may feel you have forgotten techniques, or that you have lost your fitness or flexibility. We find that 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 if we've learned one thing it's not to expect anything of anyone. Whether you tell us you previously achieved 3rd dan, or if 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 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 there may be differences, but we will work with them. We have had people join from other associations, and from other martial arts. 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, we can discuss the best way forward.
You may have been taught incorrect techniques, or be afraid that you might have been. This 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 grade they've worked for elsewere and most of the time this is fine. 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 members who have done other martial arts (Karate, jiu Jitsu, Kung Fu, Judo, MMA) or who have done Taekwon-do elsewhere. People are not judgemental, it is a talking point of interest and we can learn something from eachother.
See Child beginner information here
Come and Try or watch a class
Get in touch if you would like to arrange a trial with no obligation or if you'd like to watch a class. Come and give it a go, what have you got to lose?
firstname.lastname@example.org (please include a mobile number in your email)