FAQ: Is it too late for adults to start learning martial arts?

Context: Fei Wu (3rd Degree Black Belt) interviewed Mr. O'Malley in 2015 on her podcast called Feisworld. During their conversation, Mr. O'Malley answered a series of Frequently Asked Questions related to learning martial arts. We'd like distill parts of the transcripts and bring them to you as blog posts. 

If you find this type content helpful, please let us know! We also welcome you to follow up with additional questions if they aren't addressed in this post. 

FEI WU: The last question is often times with adults and as an adult I hopefully I represent a group of people and hopefully encourage them to join in. But I do get questioned a lot you know adults in their 30s, 40s, 50s saying is it too late for me to start and would I feel awkward as an adult practicing with younger children in a class which I love by the way. I love practicing with teenager and even little kids in the class for diversity. So how do we address that?

MICHAEL O’MALLEY: Well first of all there is a myriad of classes that are specifically for adults only and then we offer family classes where the moms, and dads, and adults if they chose to come in can practice. Sometimes I’ll have the parents practicing with their kids which is our point of family classes to just practicing adults and kids because sometimes you need to arrange people by height, weight and experience and all that stuff. So that’s all done–that’s all inherent within the classes itself. But I would say that learning never stops. The only time it stops is when we die. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re 90 years old or 18 year old hockey player.

You have the ability to learn and if you have interest in this, we will teach you what you need to know and you can learn at your pace and have fun and make friends and do something to enrich your life. you’ll develop if you’re interested in learning self-defense we’ll work on the self-protection skills and strategy so you kind of walk around. If you’re a nurse leaving the hospital at 1 a.m. and walking out to the parking lot and you feel a little bit intimidated or frightened and sometimes you have a right to be. we can alleviate some of that by giving you the proper strategies and training you. it doesn’t take a long time to learn it. it just takes some efforts as long as you don’t mind sweating. It’s a great workout. In some ways you know with adults it’s almost like rediscovering your legs again you know the flexibility and all the kicking. I found that with women leg strength is very similar to men where upper body strength might be a little bit different.

FEI WU: Interesting.

MICHAEL O’MALLEY: So through Taekwondo we work on developing these powerful kicking techniques and you’ll work on hitting the punching bags and pads so you can see the results of what we teach you and on top of that you’ll make and meet some very interesting people like you and Ralph and me and others.

FEI WU: Indeed and I realize they’re still all the best friends I have in my life are from Taekwondo. Thank you so much for the interview.

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