A few Questions from a complete Newbie

Discussion in 'Tae Kwon Do' started by Noob, Oct 17, 2003.

  1. Noob

    Noob Valued Member

    Hello, I'm thinking about starting to learn a martial art and Tae Kwon Do is one which, to be honest I had originally not considered, but after reading some stuff on this site and thinking about my goals has become the one I seem to be most interested in. Anyway to cut long story short I have a few questions regarding the art/sport which I'm hoping someone could answer before I make the next step and start contacting instructors in my area. While I could get these answers from teachers I'm hoping that you guys and gals might be able to tell me what the answers "should" be (to avoid a long time in a McDojo).

    1) For someone who is not in great physical shape - Noob is soft, flabby and roundish shaped - is Tae Kwon Do very physically demanding initially or will it build up as my physical capabilities increase through practice?

    2) Equally for someone who isn't that supple will the art naturally allow me to gain the level of suppleness needed for the better/fancier/harder kicks or should my instructor reccomend stretching exercises, and if so which ones?

    3) How long should it take a complete begineer (no martial arts experiance) to reach the first - non white - belt and subsequently a black belt (I'm not aiming for a black belt in a quick time, but know that a lot of McDojo's have many black belts - kinda looking for an average here?

    4) What is the best reason you could give me to practice Tae Kwon Do?

    5) Is there anyway of seeing online videos of correct forms so that I can have an idea of good form - to check student/instructor competancy at the schools?

    And the bonus question is, can any of you reccomend instructors or schools in my area (North London - Barnet, Hatfield, Welwyn Garden City, St Albans, Hitchin, Borehamwood, Elstree in the UK - am aware of a few?

    Thanks in advance for any advice/answers/help you may be able to give.

    Edited to add, if you know of any threads here with answers to my questions or just information you think I should know, then please direct me to them, I'm not asking you to search the forum and I have looked at a good few threads before posting but might of missed some good ones.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2003
  2. booksie_girl

    booksie_girl Lucy the Terrible

    1) You'll be sore after your first training session, but you get over that quickly. It will be a bit difficult to begin with, but no more than you can handle.

    2)To really improve flexibility, you'll have to work on it yourself. There is a stretching program in themagazine, but you can get along quite well in TKD without being able to kick past the waist.

    3) Your first grading will probably be in 3 or 4 months, depending on how often you train, and how often gradings are. Black belt, should take 4-5 years, again, it depends on how often you train, and your instructor.

    4) Enjoyment, if you don't enjoy it, there's not point doing it, whatever the other benefits.

    Can't help you with the rest. Good luck, and I hope that some of my info helped.
  3. Noob

    Noob Valued Member

    Thanks for answering, didn't actually notice that magazine link up there before, going to spend some time reading through it plus double checking with any instructor I go to for his/her advice. Thanks for the other information too, especially with regards to gradings. Out of interest how often should gradings be in your opinion (I'm thinking that too frequently would be a sign of a McDojo)?
  4. booksie_girl

    booksie_girl Lucy the Terrible

    We have 3 gradings a year, which I think is about right. Though as I said before, it depends on how often you train. Any more than 4 gradings a year would be a sure sign unless you're doing a huge amount of training. You might see what other members post regarding how often they grade. Also, gradings from red belt black tip, and then black belt, have to be a minimum of 6 months apart for us, which effectively makes it 8, since that's how our gradings are spaced.
  5. Kwajman

    Kwajman Penguin in paradise....

    Hey Booksie, just curious, but what color belt are you?
  6. Terry Matthes

    Terry Matthes New Member

    It really depends on what school of TKD you join Noob. Don't worry about belt gradings as they don't mean much if anything outside of your school. Just go to a local school and ask to tryout a couple classes. Like I have said in other threads, it really depends on who is teaching the class and what the school's aim is ei. full contact tournaments, point sparring, spiritual ect.
  7. beth

    beth New Member

    It is not at all a problem to start TKD if you are in less than tip top shape...in fact that is a great reason TO start TKD. Like others have said, it might be tough at first but you will progress more quickly than you think as long as you go consistently and work on it some outside of class. The great thing about TKD and other MA's is that you go at your own pace. It is community oriented but you are also the only person you ever really compete with. It is, at least for me, a very personal experience and there is no formula for how long it should take for anything.
    Stretching is vital in TKD as kicking is really important. But flexiblity comes with time and is not something to rush. I stretch every day even if I don't train and I am still not as felxible as I'd like to be. But don't push yourself. You have to stretch enough so you don't injure yourself, but don't push too hard either (especially in the beginning) or you can hurt yourself even worse. Pulled or torn muscles are extremely painful. Check out information on dynamic or static stretching, the jury is still out on which is better, but the more informed you are the better decisions you can make.
    There are a lot of reasons to practice TKD, but like booksie_girl said, enjoyment is one of the most important. If it isn't fun and you don't feel great afterwatds, then you need a new instructor. Not to say that it isn't hard or a great challenge, but it is really about making you feel good in so many ways. I really enjoy the cardio workout and the physical exercise, but the mental challenge and learning how to usemy mind and body in concert is really what does it for me. The mental aspects of the art are what make it different than the sport styles. I can have the worst day of my life (and I've had a lot of those lately) but the second I walk in the dojang, it lifts and I feel great. There is nothing like pouring yourself into TKD and feeling what you get out of it afterwards. It makes everything feel better.
    As for good websites with forms, I really like to go to http://mchenry.homeip.net/TangSooDo/ because it has a ton of Korean forms: forms from ITF and WTF styles as well as weapons forms and Hapkido and Tang Soo Do. Technique always varies between schools, though, so keep that in mind. I do ITF forms and the people who are in the videos at this site do the same forms but with bounces between steps and different ways to form the techniques. But, as long as you have a good instructor, those things are kind of irrelevant. As for the bonus question, I am in Kansas, I have no clue about schools out there.
    I have gone on for far too long...I will stop now. Good luck.
  8. Noob

    Noob Valued Member

    Thanks, I'm checking out that site now, and I will keep in mind the minor differences in forms between training exercises. My main goal from studying this isn't to learn how to fight, I don't like fighting people or the idea of it. But instead to get fitter, become more supple, meet new people, and also simply to learn a skill.

    Most of the questions I listed are probably ones you've heard time and again so thanks for reading and answering. Also to just answer Terry above belt gradings aren't a big issue for me I'd just like to know so that when I ask the instructor I have an idea of what the answer "should" be. Anyway thanks again.
  9. flyingblackbelt

    flyingblackbelt New Member

    If your goal is more based around fitness then i would suggest a cardio kickboxing class, if you can find the right school. i know in my school if you take cardio kickboxing you not only get a good workout but you do legitimately learn moves like roundhouse, front kick and side kick, others too. The other advantage is that if you do decide to start the actual martial art you will be ahead of the game, trust me the people who come over to tae kwon do from kick boxing in my school do much better.
  10. Noob

    Noob Valued Member

    Thanks, I hadn't actually considered that before. I've had a look around my area for Martial Arts schools and am also getting in touch with a friend of my fathers who while he wasn't involved in Tae Kwon Do was/is pretty respected in the Judo field in my country (Won an Olympic medal). I'm hoping he might know or be able to give me some more advice on the matter of learning an MA or be able to ask around and find someone he could reccomend.

    I'll take a look at the Cardio classes but I still feel that there is something slightly more to gain from the martial arts route. It's probably just a personal bias I have.
  11. pocketwarrior

    pocketwarrior New Member


    not saying that either of us is right or wrong but in my KB school it's usually the other way round with TKD.

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