Article credited to Victoire Morier

That seems to be the million-dollar question among many working adults who continue to study taekwondo into their 40s and 50s, and some even into their 70s.

After all, most would have taken up – or continued – the sport as a means to keep fit and active, not compete as a vocation.

Even if competitions were the name of the game, most would engage in one as a way to get out there, explore the community and expose themselves to new experiences. All that can be accomplished in a poomsae competition, where risk can be kept to a minimum and no one is out to hit you in order to score a point.

But to address the question, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

For instance, some believe that additional safety precautions, from avoiding using excessive force to longer warm-up times, could contribute to a safer sparring experience.

Others think that a higher emphasis on technique rather than speed and power leads to a lower chance of injury.

More still feel that removing full-contact sparring with younger, stronger opponents altogether is the safest method.

While sparring in taekwondo is considered safe in general, due to measures such as the usage of (approved) protective gear and focus on proper technique, it also carries risk of injury due to the fact that there is body contact and can carry high intensity.

Because of the intensity and body contact, you would have to endure pain and stress (by kicking others hard, or by being kicked hard), as well as bruises, strains and sprains. While you may grow accustomed to the pain and stress over time, risk of injury doesn’t always go away.

Moreover, much like other full contact sports like boxing and judo, sparring also requires stamina and endurance, which you would have to build. A factor to take note of is that while training and conditioning makes you stronger, as the human body ages, more effort would be needed compared to younger ones due to slower metabolism.

So perhaps, it’s best for you to decide what is best and safest for you.

If sparring in taekwondo is what you love and have a passion for, don’t be discouraged by the prospect of injury and try to take as many safety precautions as possible.

If you would like to pursue your passion elsewhere, there are other sports this website covers, from sailing and kendo to fencing and archery, so take a look and consider trying them out!