Martial Arts

Starting Karate Over 50 Is It Late To Start Your Journey

Starting Karate over 50 is it a good idea? I’m always happy to hear this question.

Of course you can start Karate at the age of 50, just because you ain’t in your prime anymore doesn’t give you the right to make excuses you know.

Today we’re going to tackle a question I get quite a lot from my middle aged colleagues. Obviously we have to be realistic here, not everyone in his fifties is alike. That’s why today we’re going to go in depth and answer this question properly. So is starting Karate at the age of 50 a good or bad thing?

Starting Karate Over 50 Is It Late To Start Your Journey

Starting Karate Over 50

The kids are finally able to take care of themselves, and now you’re thinking about how you should fill up that time. Hey your initial idea to start learning karate at the age of 50 is quite interesting. I’d be really glad to know, what brought you to choosing Karate over so many other activities.

Anyways, let’s first discuss how you should go about this.

What’s your level of fitness

As we already stated, not all 50 year olds are the same, there’s this common phrase that I really don’t like. It goes something like ‘yeah you can be a 100 years old and start karate’ which I really think is dangerous to claim.

Firstly you need to realistically assess, yourself. I know 60 year olds that are still lifting bricks at work, while at the same time I know 20 year olds that wouldn’t last a day at a construction site.

So how physically fit are you? you don’t need to be able to run a marathon, as long as you can go up the stairs and do normal day activities your fine.

Secondly go to a doctor and discuss your plan to start Karate at the age of 50. Don’t be ashamed of this, I’d recomand younger people to do so as well. You never know if you’ve got an issue that could prevent you from karate.

That’s the first thing you need to do in order to know if your good for karate at the age of 50. Now for the next thing.

Having Realistic Goals With Your Training

Karate has a lot of benefits for the middle aged and seniors such as:

  • Improving self-defence
  • Better overall health
  • A community with similar minded people to make friends with
  • Increased strength, flexibility, balance, endurance, confidence, etc

However, we can’t expect to become the next UFC heavyweight champion, regardless of how much you train.

Are you expected to spar

I would say it depends, unfortunately we can’t really know if the techniques we’re learning are effective if we never spar. I’ve talked more about this in a previous article called, Martial Arts Philosophy Aliveness.

Than again turning 50 and sparing might not be the brightest idea especially if your new to martial arts sparring. The reason for this is that:

  • Your balance might be a bit off, a good kick could send you flying which brings us to the next point.
  • Your reflexis would not have developed yet, a technique called breakfalling has not yet been mastered . essentially this means how to fall safely without injury. Falling badly could result in a broken leg or arm, we don’t want that at the age of 50 now do we.

Than again if we don’t spar we’re not really learning self defence now are we. Therefore what I recomand would be to first start mastering breakfalling than start of with light sparing till your fully confident into going sparing.

Than again you might not be interested in sparring which is totally okay, Karate isn’t just about learning to fight there’s a lot more to it.

Can you become a Karate black belt if you start at the age of 50

Of course you can become a black belt. It’s not impossible at all to achieve a black belt in karate, if you start training karate in your senior days.

Now if your aiming for a 10th dan black belt, I’d say your crazy and don’t even bother trying that. We’ve gotta keep our goals realistic. I’ve previously written an article on Shotokan Karate belt curriculum, I bet you’d enjoy checking out. It’s got all the training techniques required to achieve the 1st dan black belt.

Finding a good Karate Dojo

It’s important that you find a Karate dojo tailored for your age. Make sure that the sensei knows how to handle middle aged students. A good indication of this would be if there are other students your age at the dojo.

I think finding an appropriate karate dojo for your age is essential. If all the karate students are going to be kids and teens your not going to have a great time there. Most probably the lesson won’t be tailored to your needs but to that of the young students.

Convinced you can start Karate in your middle age?

So did I answer all your middle aged questions about karate? Now stop making excuses and go sign up at your local Karate dojo.

One last thing before I end this article, don’t over push yourself to ‘reclaim lost time’ or some other stupid thing. Don’t get caught up with your ego, train to have fun. Over Pushing yourself will only cause you injury and resentment for karate. Remember that a 50 year old body isn’t going to heal like a 20 year old body.



Starting Karate Over 50 Is It Late To Start Your Journey
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Starting Karate Over 50 Is It Late To Start Your Journey
Starting Karate over 50, lets discuss: Pros and Cons, Can you earn the black belt? How to chose an appropriate Karate school and much more.
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Martial Arts Nerd
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2 thoughts on “Starting Karate Over 50 Is It Late To Start Your Journey

  1. Great little article. And encouraging. I started when i was 49 and was the best thing i’ve done in years. my body is stronger, more supple, and the stretching has virtually eliminated my sciatica, which i suffered with for at least 9 years prior. I’m now in better shape than alot of 20 something kids I know.

  2. Totally agree, good article. Started at age 57, in a dojo where the intructor’s father had also started. He’s 60, so works well fopr me :). I have a mild hereditary heart condition abd for me it was as a cardio workout after talking to my doctor. My son also goes to the same dojo, so its a familty interest 🙂

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