I felt really nervous about starting martial arts in my 40s. I’d never been athletic as a kid. I hated gym class in school. I was never into sports. And yet here I was, 41, trying out my very first karate class ever.
Half the class was at least half my age, and most of the students were black belts. And here I was, a 41-year-old white belt. Totally clueless.
Would I get my ass kicked? Would I hurt myself? Would I look like a fool?
Of course I was nervous. I was well out of my comfort zone. And I knew nothing. I was totally inexperienced. Which is not a comfortable feeling for adults.
But here’s the cool part. That inexperience turned out to be the thing I loved the most about it.
That white belt was by far my favourite belt. Everyone expected me to know nothing. Everyone expected me to make mistakes. Everyone expected me to struggle and feel confused and ask questions and not have any idea if I was doing anything right.
Everyone expected me to be a white belt. Because I was.
That realization hit me during my very first class. I walked into that class totally nervous, and I walked out grinning from ear to ear.
I had tried something new. I had done something difficult. I had pushed myself well out of my comfort zone. And I received nothing but a warm welcome and total understanding from everyone there.
Those black belts: they remembered what it was like. They remembered being new at it, and feeling stupid and out of place. They remembered. And they didn’t judge me for going through the exact same process they did.
Being a beginner at something as difficult as martial arts—this became so liberating for me. I realized that even though I was an adult, with the weight of all of those expectations and responsibilities, I didn’t in fact have to know everything all the time. I didn’t even have to know anything.
With karate, that inexperience allowed me to remember the bliss of learning something for the very first time. The joy of pushing myself. And the fun of trying something new.
If you think you’re too old to start martial arts—at whatever that age may be—just know that you will know nothing. And you will make mistakes. But you will also be starting an amazing path that will make you realize that none of that even matters.
Podcast Show Notes
Do you think you’re too old to start martial arts? Join me in this latest episode as I discuss starting karate in my 40s, and how liberating it can be to wear that white belt as an adult.
Thank you for joining me on my martial arts journey, and in the exploration of all the ways we can perform better in life and martial arts.
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How old were you when you started your martial arts journey? Feel free to share your experience in the Comments section below.
You’re reading Are You Too Old To Start Martial Arts? by Sabrina Bliem, originally posted on The Karate Shrimp. If you’ve enjoyed this post, be sure to follow The Karate Shrimp on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
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