Tae Kwon Do For Seniors [Short Guide]

Welcome friend! In this post, you will learn about Tae Kwon Do for seniors and how to get started if you are interested to learn more.

Tae Kwon Do is one of the more famous Asian martial arts alongside Karate. While not as mainstream as Karate, Tae Kwon Do still has a strong following in the US and around the world.

Martial arts and self-defense practices can be a great way to improve confidence and sense of security for seniors. They are also excellent exercise with benefits especially to balance and coordination as well as muscle strength and cardiovascular health.

That said, there are certain safety considerations for seniors and unfortunately, not everyone can participate in these activities. But if you are generally healthy and fit, Tae Kwon Do should be a reasonably safe hobby under the instruction of an experienced instructor.

Let’s start by talking a bit about what Tae Kwon Do actually is before looking at the benefits for seniors and how to get started with the sport.

What Is Tae Kwon Do

Tae Kwon Do is a self-defense practice that originates from Korea and it’s recognized as one of the oldest practices of martial arts in the world, reaching back over 2,000 years.

Tae Kwon Do literally means the art of kicking and punching. So, not surprisingly kicking and punching are the main methods of Tae Kwon Do, compared to for example Judo, where grappling is a central activity of the sport.

Tae Kwon Do emphasizes speed and agility and it’s characterized by high kicks, jumping and spinning kicks, and fast attack techniques. In Tae Kwon Do speed is emphasized because speed is more important than mass or size for generating power to strikes and kicks.

This of course means that Tae Kwon do is highly demanding physically, since fast high kicks require pretty extreme strength, mobility, and control.

There are several styles of Tae Kwon Do ranging from Traditional Tae Kwon Do to Extreme Tae Kwon Do.

There are ranks and belts in most Tae Kwon Do styles but they are standardized. Typically the belts are split into Junior and Senior categories. Junior belts being white to red or brown and senior different ranks of black belt.

The different styles of Tae Kwon Do also have different philosophical principles but these can typically be boiled down to the Five Commandments of Hwarang: Courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, indomitable spirit.

Benefits Of Tae Kwon Do For Seniors

Martial arts offer some great benefits for seniors. While most seniors probably shouldn’t get involved in active sparring and fighting, Tae Kwon Do can still offer great benefits for health and self-defense skills.

A big part of martial arts practices is learning to control your body and mind at all times. This offers both physical and mental benefits.

Bending, turning, kicking, punching, jumping, and just moving your body in space in all possible ways while learning to do it in a controlled and systematic way is perfect training for balance and coordination. Balance loss is one of the most common causes of injuries in the senior population, but you can do a lot to prevent this degradation. The most important thing is doing activities that challenge your balance, Tae Kwon Do is great for this.

In a typical beginners class, you will learn how to fall without injuring yourself, this is something that can be very beneficial for injury prevention for seniors.

Tae Kwon Do is also great for improving and maintaining mobility and strength since it involves a lot of kicks and strikes that require high mobility and strength. This is also one of the downsides of Tae Kwon Do for seniors. Most seniors are physically unable to perform many of the more demanding kicks.

That doesn’t mean that you can learn good self-defense skills with Tae Kwon Do, it just means the training has to be scaled based on your ability.

Learning any kind of self-defense has been shown to improve both confidence and a sense of safety. Just the fact that you have some tools and skills in a threatening situation can put your mind at ease.

Considerations For Seniors

As with all self-defense practices, there are risks involved with Tae Kwon Do. However, the benefits are often greater and much of the risk can be avoided with the proper training.

Tae Kwon Do is probably not the ideal form of martial art for seniors, since the focus is on high and complicated kicks, but it can be tailored to fit seniors by careful exercise selection. If you are looking for a gentler form of martial art, you should check out Tai-Chi for seniors.

The safety and enjoyability of Tae Kwon Do will depend on your physical fitness and health. The typical injuries in martial arts involve muscle sprains and bruises but also more serious injuries like joint dislocations, fractures and concussions can happen.

As you probably are aware, it’s much easier to get injured the older you get as your connective tissues lose elasticity. More importantly, it takes a lot longer to heal as well.

That’s why it’s important that you find a class that is suitable for your physical fitness, age group, and experience level. When you are learning Tae Kwon Do from an instructor that has experience teaching seniors you can minimize a lot of the risks involved.

Probably the most important thing to ensure is that the instructor has real-life experience with working with seniors and that they actually make health and safety a priority over competition and sport for example.

You have to gauge the risks involved in actual contact sparring, it’s not something most seniors, especially beginners should get involved in. At least not without special considerations for safety.

How To Get Started

So you are interested in learning more about Tae Kwon Do? Great! The best way to get started with Tae Kwon Do is by finding your local dojang (training hall) or Tae Kwon Do club and see if they have a beginner group that’s suitable for seniors. Best way to find this is simply Googling Tae Kwon Do and your city.

Martial arts classes often don’t require any special equipment in the beginning, although you should always confirm this from the instructor before the first class. Usually, you just need indoor exercise clothing, indoor shoes, a towel, and a bottle of water.

Besides that, it just takes a bit of courage and enthusiasm to show up! Give it a chance and you might soon find yourself enjoying a hobby that will help you keep fit and limber as you age as well as enjoying an increased self-confidence and sense of safety.

If you want to ensure you are fit for Tae Kwon Do, it can be a good idea to do some strength training and mobility and flexibility exercises before starting to prevent injuries. But a good instructor will help you with this as well, so it’s not mandatory.

Can You Learn Tae Kwon Do At Home?

Many people who are considering learning defense often wonder if it’s possible to learn them at home.

The answer is basically no, it isn’t. Sure, you can watch some moves and learn the basic philosophy behind Tae Kwon Do, but without an experienced instructor, you can’t know if you are performing the movements correctly.

Trying to learn Tae Kwon Do at home has some inherent safety risks as well. You probably don’t have a tatami (the soft floor) at home. Practicing kicks on a hard, slippery floor can end very badly very quickly.

A big part of Tae Kwon Do or any other martial art is psychology. The first step is to overcome the fear of participating in a class. You simply can’t learn these practices effectively at home. So take the first and hardest step and participate in a beginner class, it gets easier after that.


I hope you found this article about Tae Kwon Do for seniors useful. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below and I’ll get back to you.

As a recap, Tae Kwon Do can be a great form of exercise for seniors for improving balance and coordination, mobility, and conditioning.

Sparring and fighting is probably something most seniors should do since there are inherent injury risks and it takes a long time to heal as a senior and the likelihood of injury is much higher.

Even without active sparring, you can learn basic self-defense movements and mental focus that will increase your self-confidence and sense of safety as you know how to perform in a threatening situation.

That’s it for today! Thanks for reading and see you next time.

4 thoughts on “Tae Kwon Do For Seniors [Short Guide]”

    • Hi Erika! I’m not familiar with the are, unfortunately. I recommend you do a simple Google search with Tae Kwon Do and New York. I’ll leave your comment here in case other readers have good suggestions.

  1. I.T.F. Chang Hun Taekwon-Do is an excellent activity for all ages, including seniors. Taekwon-Do, a Korean martial art invented in April of 1955 by General Choi Hong Hi, is primarily concerned with self-defence and personal protection.

    It can also be a tournament art and, I should know, as I have organized eight provincial and western Canadian championships over a 27 year period). However, the main goal of Taekwon-Do is proficiency when defending oneself?

    I am 64 years old with numerous disabilities, including two hip resurfacing surgeries (I am the pioneer of the Birmingham hip surgery here in Kelowna, B.C., Canada) and I am also sight impaired in one eye. In 2003, I was the first disabled man in Canada to teach Taekwon-Do, professionally, with two artificial hips and also, the first in the world to teach the martial art of Hapkido with artificial hips.

    In spite of these obstacles, I have perservered with the martial arts and am currently a qualified teacher and black-belt to many students over 28 years.

    Taekwon-Do is excellent for defending one’s self against a single or multiple attackers. As the art-form uses both hand and foot techniques, 50 50, seniors can easily defend themselves using kicking, hand strikes, as well as other parts of the body, such as elbows and knee strikes.

    Seniors will learn a variety of low kicks to defend themselves, such as the pressing kick (directed to the side of the knee), the cut kick (to the inner thigh), the checking kick to the opponents abdomen or solar plexus, and others.

    Effective hand techniques include the forefist punch, back-fist, knife-hand and fingertip thrust.

    Taekwon-Do is excellent for confidence building and a strategy for dealing with bullies and or manipulative people. if you have experienced a cycle of challenging life events and circumstances, you will obtain great inner strength from martial arts training.

    During the course of my own life, and speaking as a senior, I have been the target of discrimination from landlords, employers, family members, and untrustworthy people. and I can also say that being a “black-belt” is not a magic wand, nor does it make you “superman” or “superwoman?” You can still find yourself vulnerable from nasty people, no matter who you are or wherever you go.

    Therefore, the main benefits of Taekwon-Do training are spiritual in nature, such as obtaining justice, finding peace of mind, finding joy in the simple life and learning how to achieve real personal growth ?

    • What a delight to get such a long comment from a real professional R.J.! I’m very grateful for your input on the subject. I’m not an expert in martial arts but I did feel like Tae Kwon Do and a few others deserved a mention on the site. For the very reasons, you mention actually! They are a great form of exercise for seniors. But the spiritual and confidence benefits are even greater. And I agree that any level of skill in martial arts doesn’t make you invincible. But martial arts can definitely empower seniors (or anyone) to feel more safe and confident in their abilities. Once again thank you for the insightful comment and good luck with your training!


Leave a Comment