Tang Soo Do After 40?
By Jon Anest - 4th Gup
Two Dragons Tang Soo Do,
perfect balance and perfect speed I flew through the air
rapidly approaching my target. With an outstretched leg
and hammer fist, my sights were set on the poor punching
bag. Flying high I descended like a bullet hollering an
ear shattering ki-hap and came down upon it with a
devastating side kick with such accuracy landing in a
picture perfect back stance!
really wasn't me! But someday soon!
Do Karate after 40? What am I thinking? I'm definitely
not getting any younger. Everywhere I look I see martial
art schools opening their doors to young kids, 5 and 6
years old, to start their training. I must be crazy.
Surely I'm too old to think about getting into a dojang
to train. I would never make it - physically or
was my first mistake - letting my mind tell me I could
not do it. Fortunately I didn't listen to my mind.
into the Two Dragons Tang Soo Do dojang for the first
time in June of 2006 was a very inspiring moment. I felt
a sense of tradition, honor and respect almost
immediately. Having six months previous training in
Hapkido, I started to remember the protocol and
etiquette expected in a dojang. Donned in my dobok and
crisp white belt, I stood in front of Sa Bom Nim as he
led the class. First warm-ups, then into basics: kicks
and punches. He gave us a history about how our martial
art began and what we would be learning. I remember
after that first week my legs were a little sore! "What
was I doing?" My 41-year old body was screaming at me
"Quit! We can't take it!" No, back again next week.
Three months later...bam...first test! Wow, the adrenaline
was really pumping through me. My other classmates and I
did our forms, self-defense, one-step sparring and other
testing exercises. Then our first break...step behind side
kick. CRACK! One board history. What a feeling ...a sense
of accomplishment and ...a new belt! Even at forty-one I
felt like a kid again.
later...yup, still here! Kids are a little older, work is
still demanding, soccer practice every Tuesday and
husband/wife time still needed, but Tang Soo Do is
still in my heart. My body has become accustomed to
training three days a week - a little sore and achy
sometimes but that goes with the sport.
Sometimes my kids ask "Daddy, why are you going to
karate tonight?" My aching back asks the same thing! So
what draws me back? What keeps me wanting more? Tang Soo
Do is not just about punches and kicks. Just walking
into a dojang you feel humble. This is a place not just
to learn about front stances and side kicks, but to
feel what this art is all about and to gain a
sense of respect for the founder, the
master, other classmates - and myself. It's about
learning self-defense and improving my inner spirit.
It's about spinning kicks and learning multiple
attackers - together with humility and grace. It's an "all-in-one" package that is a sure winner.
daughter is aching to start learning, but I told her I
wanted her to wait until she's 7 or 8 before she begins
taking a martial art. I come home at night and she
attacks me like Cato from the Pink Panther movies!
Sometimes I look at her and think about what I would be
like now if I had started at her
age. Then I look in the mirror and say "you're not
getting older pal, just wiser!"
August 13, 2007
Update: Kyo Sa Anest was awarded his 2nd
Degree Black Belt in 2012.
He is also a certified Instructor at Two Dragons Tang Soo Do where his two children also train.