Am I Too Old To Start Learning Karate?

Starting Karate is not a matter of age or fitness level, but of motivation. By the nature of its practice, it is entirely possible to start practicing Karate as you advance in age. Even if you’re out of shape, Karate will transform your body (and mind) in ways you can barely imagine. If you desire to start Karate, by all means, do it, as there is no right age to do so.

You’re in your forties, fifties or even sixties and would like to start Karate training, but you’re not sure if you’re too old for it? You are not alone, many people are asking themselves the very same question.

What Is The Best Age To Start Learning Karate?

A common question Karate Instructors are often asked is, “what is the right age to start Karate”?

Truth is, if you really wanna start karate, any age is the best age to start! Don’t overthink it, don’t wait, and start today. It’s that simple!

If Karate is what you wanna do, then just do it.

It’s useless to question yourself about the best age to start training or if you’re flexible enough, just do it.

Of course, you would have reaped the benefits Karate earlier if you had started 20 years ago, but today is today. So do today what you can do today.

Look, I’m not going to lie to you if you’ve not been active for a while, Karate training is probably going to be a little tough on your body — any physical activity would be. You’ll be using muscles you haven’t used before or in a long time.

That’s okay, no worries. That’s part of the journey.

In just a few weeks, you’ll start to see significant changes, you’ll toughen up, improve your flexibility, develop balance and strength, lose weight and even sleep better at night! 

Your body is a wonderful machine, you’ll be amazed how fast your body can transform, I guarantee that.

So stop making excuses or being controlled by fear or doubt, and register to a Karate dojo today.

Can I Learn Karate At 40 And Over?

I’m always shocked when people ask me that question, I mean, I just don’t get it.

My answer typically is: “Who decides what you can or can’t do? YOU do! Nobody else, but YOU!

There is a famous quote by Henry Ford that says, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right”.

That’s true, I mean, you are the boss of your life.

Like anything in life, it’s your attitude that determines your success or failure. 

Karate is For Everyone

It is unfortunate that some people assume that Karate is only for a specific kind of person – the strong, the fit and the muscular. 

That’s a very limited view of Karate.

Karate is for everyone – men, women, teens, children, old or young, fit or not.

Respect Your Pace

One of the most important things to understand when you start Karate training after 40 is that it’s not a race.

Go through your Karate lessons at you go at your own pace. There is no rush. Don’t overdo it, don’t push it too much.

Give Your Body The Time To Adjust

Karate training is physically demanding, but you don’t have to be in good shape to start. 

Karate includes stretching, abdominals exercises, aerobic conditioning, punching and kicking drills, etc. Positions like horseback (kiba-dachi) or the front stance (zenkutsu-dachi) are very demanding on the legs.

Each person is different, but whether you are fit or not, your body will definitely need time to adjust.

Don’t let that be a show stopper.

Allow Recovery Time

Don’t force it! Depending on your physical fitness level or lack of – chances are, you will be sore after a Karate class.

That’s the body telling you to go slow and allow for some rest and recovery time.

Don’t Compete With Youngsters

A piece of advice here. Whether you’ve been physically active on not in recent years, don’t try to compete with youngsters in their 20’s – at least for now.

People in their 20’s are in their physical prime. They’re fast, strong, and heal quickly. They can run all night and play all day, AND they probably already know Karate.

First, start by learning the basics of Karate, and get back in shape. Learn to be comfortable with the various positions, blocks, parries, the punches, and kicks. 

That’s your priority.

You Are Never Too Old To Start Karate!

If you’re interested in picking up Karate but are afraid that you’re too old, know that you’re not alone.

Many people think that they are “too old” to start training. Some people believe that if you don’t start when you are young, you’ll never be able to achieve a Black Belt or develop a high level of skill.

In my experience, that’s simply not true.

There are countless stories of people who started in their forties, fifties and even in the seventies – and they all loved the experience and earned their way up the ranks, just like their younger classmates.

Believe You Can and You Will

One of the most important things you need to practice Karate when you are over 40, is to believe in your capacity to “make it”, to believe in yourself and in your ability to start that endeavor.

If you think you won’t make it, that your too old, that you don’t have flexibility, cardiovascular capacity or strength, then you already gave up on your ability to do it right from the start.

Repeat after me… “I CAN and I WILL!”

Stop using Age As An Excuse

Have you’ve been using age as an excuse to sit on your butt and watch television? If you, you can afford to stop it.

I heard it all: I’m too old to do this, I’m too old to do that. I’m too old to do abdominals. I’m too old to move fast. I’m too old to do kick. I’m too old to do sparring. “Back when I was younger…”

Blah blah blah, stop looking for reasons why you can’t do Karate.

But actually, you can do everything you put your mind to.

Aging is a part of life. This is true. Yes, you will deteriorate to some extent, your ability to recover will slightly diminish, and there will be changes in almost every system of the body.

Age is Just A Number

Listen, age is just a number, nothing more, so don’t let it stop you from doing what you want or need to do. 

Age is only a number, and it’s totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine!

You can achieve anything at any age! To accomplish great things, all you need is determination.

The way you view your age also has a direct impact on your physical health, so be sure to have empowering thoughts regarding your age.

Your Limits are Self-Imposed

Sometimes we do not even realize we are entertaining, nourishing our limitations about our innate abilities.

As human beings, there is actually no limit to our potential. We can decide to be more, do more, have more, and contribute more. We are only limited by our beliefs.

David Goggins a.k.a “The Toughest Man Alive” said: “The most difficult part of training is training your mind”.

You can be far more than you are right now.

Once you recognize that your limits are self-imposed, a whole world of possibilities opens to you, and everything becomes possible – Karate or anything else.

Don’t Listen To What Other People Say

You probably know this, but don’t listen to what other people say. 

Because you are in your fifties or sixties, friends and relatives can sometimes – with or without bad intentions – plant a seed of doubt in your mind or even try to discourage you from achieving your goals and your full potential.

They will tell you that you’re too old for Karate, that you’re not flexible enough, that you cardio will cause trouble.

That’s human nature. You don’t have to let them be right.

I’m not saying you should become reckless and try dangerous things, but just don’t let other people decide what you can or can’t do.

You only have this power.

Do What You Feel Like Doing

I’m not gonna lie to you, life is short, that’s why it’s important to do what you feel like doing.

One day it’ll REALLY be too late. Don’t wait to be on your deathbed and say things like: “I wish I’d had the courage or took the time to do X “.

The moment to do what you want to do is NOW, and I’m not just talking about Karate.

Please, avoid regrets by taking action.


I hope that this article reassured or motivated you to start Karate, I really do. 

I don’t care if you’re in your forties, fifties, sixties or even your seventies or more, you will be overwhelmed by the numerous benefits that Karate will bring into your life.

Personally, I’m 46 yo, I’ve been studying and training Karate for the last 35 years of my life. For an “old man”, I can still do high-kick, I can do the split, I have great cardio and I can give hell of a bad time to youngsters trying to toy with me during sparring.

If you want to start Karate, please do, don’t listen to what other people say.

What’s your excuse for not starting?

Martin Jutras