What is the best age to start martial arts training? Is it when you are 4 or 5 and then you have all of those years to practise your skills? Is it when you are a teenager so you have lots of energy to put into your training? Or is it as an adult when you are better able to understand that martial arts is a lifelong journey and understand the philosophy in more
depth? To me there is no correct answer and every single scenario has it's advantages and disadvantages that we'll discuss below.
STARTING AT A VERY EARLY AGE (3-7 years): Most parents want their children involved in a martial art at an extremely early age. The positives is that they learn balance, coordination and discipline but the downside in my experience is that they bore very easily. If you want your child to train for the duration of their childhood and beyond I suggest holding them back until at least 7 years old. Many clubs have a minimum age and personally I agree with that. It gives your child the chance to make their own decision about whether they want to practise. If your child has big dreams of competing and the Olympics one day, starting at a later age will have no disadvantage at this level. So don't worry about getting your child into martial arts when they can barely walk or talk! There is plenty of time and it's best if the decision to train comes from them as they are more likely to stay.
STARTING AT 8 - 18 YEARS:
This is a great age to start training. Children of this age are more likely to really get into their martial art training and older children especially can understand in a lot more depth the philosophy and tenets of Taekwondo. The downside of this age they are very easily distracted, especially when they progress to secondary school the drop off rate is high. Instructors need to educate students and keep them engaged through competitions or incentives. If your child continues to train through the introduction of exams, hormones and the lure of going out with their friends, they are likely to enjoy martial arts for a long time.
STARTING AS AN ADULT 19 - 100 years old!:
Many people perceive martial arts to be that for a young person. When Taekwondo is described as a kicking art, lots of people immediately talk themselves out of it because of their general fitness or lack of flexibility. However, the benefits of martial arts training, especially for adults are vast. Speak to any adult who practises martial arts with a good instructor and they will tell you that is has worked wonders for their posture, their fitness, their general health, their anxiety, their confidence, their outlook on life, to name a few. You are never ever too old to learn martial arts. Age is but a number that martial arts doesn't even understand. If you start training when you are 60 years old you will learn so much about yourself and I guarantee it'll be one of the most worthwhile things you ever do. The majority of adults who start training wish they had found it 20 years earlier but the thing is would they have been here if they had? Would they be enjoying their training and keeping healthy? Probably not. So in martial arts it's not about the age you start what matters is that YOU START. You will achieve more than you ever thought possible. Find a good club and good instructor today.