Can I start karate at 39 and get good at it?

Discussion in 'Karate' started by miyagi, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. Llamageddon

    Llamageddon MAP's weird cousin Supporter

    Practicing karate itself will make you more flexible as you get more adept at the techniques. Further stretching training is helpful.

    Check out the flexibility training section in Health and Fitness for tonnes of info.
  2. Moi

    Moi Warriors live forever x

    There goes my CSCS certification. Now what do I do?
  3. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Seriously. What's with y'all and the defeatist attitude on high kicks? Flexibility is one of the quickest attributes to develop. I'm out here in Arizona and I'm seeing fifty and sixty year old guys kicking above their own heads like there's no tomorrow. Are you too old at 39? Hell no. And for those of you in your early 20s who can't do high kicks, Bill Wallace only started training in Karate at 21 (and started stretching intensely much later than that). I'm training in an ATA class and there is a green belt called Terry in his late fifties who has better flexibility than me!!!

    Miyagi, train smart, train correctly, rest well, and your body will do the rest.

    Llama, if your hips are hurting when you kick high you either need to build strength in the affected muscles or correctly rotate your pelvis. If they don't work, get an x-ray.
  4. Llamageddon

    Llamageddon MAP's weird cousin Supporter

    Cheers :) it's only in roundhouse so I think it's probably pelvis more than anything
  5. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    At Tai Chi last week I was watching two pensioners warm up. The guy was 75 and his wife probably not much younger. Both bent over and got their hands down by their shins, superb.

    In my opinion anyone in martial arts in their 20's who cannot bend over and touch their toes with straight legs is doing something wrong.

    I went to the doctors with a pulled muscle in my back recently and could hardly walk. Bend over he said. Well the look on his face when I touched my palms flat on the floor was a picture. Even with a bad back.
  6. Blade96

    Blade96 shotokan karateka

    My crazy ex started karate when he was 40.

    He is now a sandan.

    The answer is yes.
  7. invisi

    invisi Valued Member

    Did Tang Soo Do - Korean Karate (almost like shotokan)

    Go for it. I am 39 and I got back into self-training about 8 months ago; not a club - buddy/buddy; more technique than conditioning.

    I am going to bring up high kicks and flexibility. Low to mid kicks are good; low particularly.

    If you want to increase your flexibility for high kicks; stretch your adductors (leg to hip attachment muscles.) Do it gently and slowly. Stretch slowly where you can feel the resistance.

    I got the inspiration from TOM KURZ materials, that even at 39-40 you can still get full flexibility. I like to believe this.

    I have begun to stretch slowly the adductors on my weak leg (left) and gently after a 12 year gap; after a month I have a 'proper' mid section kick; e.g. side stance, round house kick, correct foot form. I know its proper because the ball of the foot connects properley to target.

    There are other sources out there that show adductor flexibility. There is a guy on youtube that has a channel called ELASTICSTEEL. He has some good flexibility exercise.

    Good luck!
  8. SAMA-UK

    SAMA-UK the Mr Bean of Wado!

    Fill yer boots!
    I'm a 42-y-o novice and having a whale of a time in karate and kickboxing.
    Flexibility is my problem at the moment - but I can feel the improvements week by week.
    In fact the suppleness is matching my progression to new moves. I can't yet kick the smirk off an opponent's face, but it'll be a while before I'm even taught that move! More time to work on those stretches!
    I can't say I've noticed a problem with reflexes at my age. Just pick on arthritic people first then move on gradually to the lightning-quick young folk!
  9. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Right I'll address a different angle.
    There is no objective "good" in martial arts. There isn't a defined level in that way (in my opinion). There will always be someone better, always things you can do better, always things to work on, always fights you will lose no matter what skill you have etc.
    The ONLY true barometer is what you were before.
    Is the you of today "better" than the you of yesterday? The you of last month? The you of last year?
    That's how you judge progress and how you judge if you are "good" (IMHO again).
    And as you can see there is no age limit on that (although we all age so the benefits will diminish over time to some degree).
    The me of today is "better" than the me of 10 years ago even though the old me carried less niggles and knocks and was fitter. The me of today understands martial arts much better, can apply a wider range of skills and understands the context of what he's doing better (and being on MAP helped that immensely).

    In short...the person you are the day after you train for the first time is better than the person you were before.
    So get too it Grandad!! :)
  10. Mr.Black

    Mr.Black Valued Member

    You are never to old for martial arts. You just may be to old to compete as you did it in your early 20s. But you know that already, right :)

    Even if reflexes slowed down a bit, offcourse you can develop it. So as flexibility and other goods. Just don't push too much over the limit. First reason why older people geeting injured is because they think that if they did something at 20s they can do it now also. Train, enjoy, listen your body.

  11. Mr.Black

    Mr.Black Valued Member

    Hi, Van Zandt

    I don't agree completely with quoted. Flexibility is one of the quickest attributes to develop, but that's not the same for all people.

    I will take myself for example. I have problems with flexibility, so much problems i almost quit Taekwondo because of being dissapointed.

    I am 23 years old, male, body type endomorph. I am not to tall, rather i am wide! I am really really stiff and inflexible. I trained various sports but never tried to be flexible, means first i tried it was at 21.

    You see i am perfect to be inflexible. I understand why people bother o much with it, it is really hard for some people.

    However sorry on off topic!
  12. Haakon

    Haakon Valued Member

    Yes, or maybe. Some people find them easier than others. I was never able to do a full splits when I was 18 and training 3 hours a day. Not being able to do the splits doesn't mean you can't do Karate or kick high. After a 10 year layoff and at age 42 I still can't come anywhere near doing the splits, but I can do head high front and side kicks.
  13. Llamageddon

    Llamageddon MAP's weird cousin Supporter

    Yeah, I consider myself pretty inflexible, but when things go as they should I can perform any kick at my head height or just above (arounf 5' 10"). And I can tell you now I don't stretch every day. I know I should, but I've always hated it...
  14. AndrewTheAndroid

    AndrewTheAndroid A hero for fun.

    If you didn't karate chop your own umbilical cord you will never become a Master.
  15. Timmy Boy

    Timmy Boy Man on a Mission

    You will get better at karate than you would have been had you not started. That makes it worthwhile.
  16. miyagi

    miyagi New Member

    Once again I thank everyone for their input. A lot of people however are mistaking this post for an "Am I too old to..." one. I tried to explain in my original post that this was not the issue.

    I understand that karate and exercise in general has benefits for every age group and it is self evident that one improves in all areas over time.

    My question was can I get good at it? And by that I don't mean belts or ranks couldn't care less. Especially with so man commercial schools being around.

    my objective is to be able to hold my own during training and sparring and more importantly be able to defend myself and family should the situation arise.

    I want to know that if I invest in karate, pursuiting it whole heartedly , that I will be able , in most cases , to defeat my opponent as long they don't have an extreme physical or skill advantage over me. Of course the physical and personal development is a big bonus here as well.

    Hope this clears it up,
  17. Moi

    Moi Warriors live forever x

    All depends on the style and the particular club you find. You're old enough to know what's going to feel right to you so have a good look around until you find what suits. You'll be OK as long as you don't try to keep up with the younger students. Use your brain and concentrate on getting technique right, that way you won't need to sweat like a bugger to keep up. Use your advantage, wisdom
  18. Haakon

    Haakon Valued Member

    It's impossible to answer that question miyagi. Sure, IF you start training and IF you fight someone who's had less training and IF they are less determined to win than you and IF they aren't as strong then sure you'll probably win most of the time, why would you expect otherwise you since you'd have all of the advantages?

    Of course if you ask a BJJ proponent he'll say you won't stand a chance because 99.9999% of fights end up on the ground and studying Karate you won't know what to do then.
  19. bassai

    bassai onwards and upwards ! Moderator Supporter

    As others have already said , there is no "magic bullet" that will defend in every situation , look for a club that trains realistically and intelligently .
  20. kravi2

    kravi2 Valued Member

    Put it this way. If you start karate at 39, study hard and well for 30 years, I'd give you a 50% chance of beating up another 69 year old karateka who started when he was 14. :)


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