By Kathy Olevsky
John Allis turned 80 years old in 2019. He has been in Karate for 38 years. John is a 4th Degree Black Belt who is still actively training and teaching. In fact, John probably works out more than the average 40 year old.
Nobody can tell you the right age to begin martial arts. We have students who start when they are 7 years old and others who have started when they were 70 years old. Your path in the martial arts is your own journey. No matter what age you start, you will be successful if you start and follow the sage advice given by most great instructors; “go to class”.
As a young adult, a middle age adult or a senior, just come to class with an empty cup. There will always be something to learn. At Karate International, we foster an environment of learning and sharing. All of our students reach a point where they are able to share something with another student. We encourage them to help their classmates. We have found that our students become teachers themselves as we help them become partners, not opponents.
When a child comes to start Karate classes, some arrive with concerns about starting something new. Others begin with no care, whatsoever, about starting a new activity. Some children are incredibly shy, while others are extroverts. They all fit in our curriculum. We know how to give them a little bit of each other and help them become their best version of themselves.
Some of our teens have started in Karate classes because they were still looking for their extra- curricular activity that would make them taste some success. Some had poor team experiences. Some had self-confidence issues. There are also teens who came to us as the student who had almost everything come to them pretty easily. It doesn’t really matter. We mentor all of these students in a way that they learn to help each other and build lasting partners and friendships.
As an adult in martial arts, you learn that we meet you where you are. Some adults are capable of the same things they did as teenagers. Some are a bit more restricted in movement. Where ever you are in your fitness or creaky bones, we know how to work with you so that you can enjoy a life in the martial arts!
There is no right age to start in the martial arts. Adults will always wish they had started younger. When we do have adults start in Karate, who also had it as a child, they often tell us they just didn’t appreciate it enough as a child. We’ve had children, like Andrew K., who came to us as a 3 year old and stayed until he went off to college. As a teenager, who assisted in our children’s classes as an instructor, he was often mistaken for someone much older because of his self-confidence.
The great part about learning Karate and other martial arts is that it is truly ageless. You put in what you can, receive with gratitude, give to others and feel great throughout the process.