Do You Need to Be Fit to Start Taekwondo?

Getting started in physical activities like Taekwondo when you are overweight or out of shape can be challenging to confront. I decided to look into Taekwondo to see if getting fit before starting classes is something that you need to do.

You do not need to be fit to start Taekwondo training. Taekwondo classes are beginner-friendly and provide a great environment for students that are overweight or out of shape. You can get in shape by starting Taekwondo training and using it to build up your physical fitness and lose weight.

Now that we know that we don’t have to let our physical fitness get in the way of starting Taekwondo, let’s go over some other common concerns that might stop somebody from starting their Taekwondo training such as age, strength, and flexibility.

Am I Too Old to Start Training Taekwondo?

Taekwondo is can be started at any age since it is an accessible martial art in terms of physical expectations. Most poomsae (the Korean equivalent of katas in Japanese martial arts) and practice during lessons are achievable for older individuals and will not affect your training quality.

If you have physical concerns you can talk to your instructor, who will likely have some good advice for adjustments to make to the techniques or ways to overcome your concerns.

For a deeper look into training as an older adult check out my post where I take a look into some of the details about starting Taekwondo training at an older age.

Do You Need to Be Strong for Taekwondo?

You do not have to be conventionally strong to train in Taekwondo. In Taekwondo, building speed, balance, and quality of movement is prioritized over strength. Also, keep in mind Taekwondo class will build enough strength to support your techniques, so low strength shouldn’t be an excuse.

Do You Need to Be Flexible for Taekwondo?

You will need to be flexible to reach competitive levels of Taekwondo since kicking requires a lot of general flexibility. Training Taekwondo alongside a dynamic stretching routine will add enough flexibility to allow you to progress, so don’t let your current flexibility hinder you.

How Hard is Taekwondo to Learn?

It is not particularly hard to pick up the basics of Taekwondo, but reaching a high level of mastery is far more difficult. Certain Taekwondo kicking techniques are very technical and can be difficult to learn and require substantial practice and flexibility.

Reaching mastery in Taekwondo is a significant time commitment and requires consistent training. Check out my post How Often Should You Train Taekwondo? for more information about the ideal training volume for Taekwondo.

That being said, getting started and learning the basics of Taekwondo is very approachable even if you are out of shape. Most schools have a fun atmosphere and will be quite accommodating.

What to Expect in Your First Taekwondo Class

A typical Taekwondo class will start with a warm-up routine that involves calisthenics and stretching, followed by punching and kicking drills and ending with Tul, which are the equivalent of Karate Katas. Simulated sparring exercises can also occur near the end of class.

Check out this informational post that this Taekwondo instructor put up in regards to how he likes to handle his Taekwondo classes.

What to Wear to Your First Taekwondo Class

Speak to the school in order to get an idea of what clothing and equipment to bring to your first class. Typically you will only be expected to bring yourself and wear gym clothes. If you have workout clothing that does not have pockets that is better since then nothing can get caught in pockets.

If you want to know what the full Taekwondo uniform would look like and how to care for it check out my post How To Care for Your Taekwondo Uniform.

Final Thoughts

Taekwondo is an approachable martial art that does not require you to be fit to start. All of the fitness, strength, and flexibility are usually built into the structure of the classes so it won’t need to be worked on beforehand.

If you want to reach the top of the art, you’ll probably need to dedicate some time to getting dynamic stretching exercises in to deal with the higher-than-average flexibility requirements.

For more check out 10 Reasons to Train Taekwondo (Is It The Best Martial Art?)


Hi, I'm Andre and I am the author of this website. I currently train primarily in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but supplement with other grappling martial arts as well as help to coach my kid's blended grappling program.

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