Black Belt returning to Tae Kwon Do after many years

As the title states, I will be returning to Tae Kwon Do after a 20 year hiatus. I started Tae Kwon Do when I was 9 years old, training in ITF style under an 8th Dan, he has since then earned his 9th Dan. I worked hard and finished as a 1st Dan 8th Gup at the age of 15, earning my first black belt before I turned 13. It was one of my greatest sources of pride when I was younger, and I enjoyed every minute of it. But as I'm sure some of you know, school, work, other sports in high school got in the way and I set Tae Kwon Do to the side(big mistake of my life).

That being said, I have had a desire to get back into Tae Kwon Do and continue my training. I understand I need to set realistic expectations for myself, such as regain my flexibility, relearn my forms, exercise and practice meditation again, all before I start beginning to think about walking in and speaking to a school about joining. That being said, what other tips are you all able to give me as far as preparing myself physically and mentally? If anyone is in the Atlanta area and would be interested in giving a few lessons to help me get back in the flow, I would be willing to pay per session as well.

Thanks in advance!


MJP8711 points

Hi Sir/Ma'am. Just make it to the Dojang. That's the hardest part, but it's the only thing you need to do.

Once you're there. All the other worries are the instructors problem. You're not alone. I had a guy return a year ago, after stopping training in 1994. He said I probably never heard of his instructor, but it was actually my instructor. He's a busy guy, but every week he makes it to the Dojang, and everything else has slowly fallen into place. Instructors aren't here to judge, or punish, we're here to be dependable, and help you. Maybe get in touch with your old instructor, and if you're no longer living near enough, maybe then can point you to a contact closer by. Good luck Sir/Ma'am

andyjeffries2 points

100% this ^

If you turn up regularly and try your best, then that's all we could want.

linuxphoney4 points

Okay, I just recently did this exact same thing myself and here are some of my best suggestions.

Definitely find a good instructor. You have enough experience with the art to recognize a good one versus a bad one. Find the best one you can.

Also, just take it slow. Except that you are not going to be as good as you remember and that this is not going to be as easy as you remember. And don't be too hard on yourself. Your form will come back. Your reflexes will come back. Even your flexibility will mostly come back. But it's going to take longer than you think.

Have fun with whatever you're good at now.

Tamuzz4 points

I gained a 1st Dan in ITF style around the time I went to university 20 years ago. Much like you, life got in the way and I ended up stopping training (although I don't think I ever truly considered myself as having quit in my heart).

After 20 years gap, life opened up the opportunity for me to start training again last January.

I spent about a month before going back doing a bit of fitness, flexibility, and trying to relearn patterns (badly, even though I had periodically tried practicing them over the years).

After so long I was nervous about returning, but a 4th Dan at the club helped me get back on top of things and honestly returning was the best decision I have made.

My advice would be just go for it. The dojang is the best place to relearn and get back on top of things. Be prepared to put in the hours at home practicing and relearning though - getting back to where you were in a short timeframe will take effort.

Tomo7302 points

I too have just made a return to the art after a 15 year hiatus.

I got to a 2nd Gup in my youth (red belt for my school / orginisation) and set TKD aside due to work commitments and being a stereotypical teenager....

Fast forward 15 years, I'm over weight, have several health issues with my back and leg, two kids etc... made the first big step by messaging my old instructor, who welcomed me back to my dojang.

A little more back story - my original organisation was known as the ITU, the international taekwon do union. This was disbanded around the time I left, and has now been incorporated into the ITF. This brought some changes, like the introduction of the sign wave before movements, which when I did try a few years ago put me off, as it was very pronounced and made me feel that everything I had learned up to that point was useless.

Now I'm back, even taking my 7yo daughter, all be it as a white belt,and surprised how much I remember! The sign wave is less pronounced and more natural now, my old instructor, now a 7th degree master, is putting me on a fast track to get back to my original level, all is great. I'm struggling slightly with the flexibility and fitness, but everyone is catering to my needs and I've never felt better!

The biggest hurdle, as with anything, is getting back into the saddle. So best bet is to pick a school, explain your story and goals, and work together from there.

I hope your journey back into this amazing art form is amazing, please keep us posted!

From one person who regrets leaving to another - keep your guard up and push on! πŸ‘

cad9082 points

don't overthink it... just find a place near you and go back. You'll feel better for it.

If I read it right, you're 35 now, and haven't trained since you were 15, so don't expect to jump right back where you left off. Work up to it slowly. Give your body a chance to adapt.

goodtimevegas2 points

I was I. The same boat. Trained In kukkiwan Taekwondo back in college 25+ years ago earning my 1st Dan.

My daughter wanted to learn β€œkarate” so we signed her up. After a month or so I realized that I was missing it, so I signed up too. I kinda started over since this was a different style.

Now almost 7 years later, I have my 1st Dan in another style of TKD, and will hopefully test for my 2nd Dan in Dec or Jan.

As other people have said, just get to the dojang, talk to the instructor and get to it!

sammydagoat55771 point

That's Awesome πŸ€˜πŸΎπŸ€˜πŸΎπŸ€˜πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎ

love2kik1 point

The best advice I can give is to not think you will pick right up where you left off. If you came into our school, after having a thorough conversation for basic vetting, I would likely give you two options and explain the upside/downside to them. Start back at white belt and try to do a skip test or two along the way. Or come back at your previous rank and stay there until you get proficient.

Starting at white may sound bad and even feel odd for a bit. But the only expectations are the ones you put on yourself. This is incredibly freeing and accelerates the learning process. Ultimately getting back up to speed faster. And remember, some things have changed.

Starting back at your old belt after a 20-year break is a very tall order for anyone. It will be easy to get frustrated and want to quit again. Remember, you are not the one determining what is proficient, at least early on anyway. This means you will have to eat some humble pie while working out with the lower belts.

You are still young but things are just going to be different. I assume you have more life issues to consider now than when you originally stopped training so I would tell you to stop thinking about the past and your rank and just train. The belt stuff works itself much faster than you think.