I’ve done research and a bunch of other people start at around 6 years old. I want to start it and hopefully make it to the Olympics and I’m willing to train every single day by myself. If I start taekwondo and want to compete in the olympics is it too late? BTW I am being trained by a current National Team Member. More info: I’ve done about 4 years of Karate since I was little.


2 Answers 2


The average age of medalists in Olympic Taekwondo is 24 years old for males, 23 years old for females. The medalists go up to over age 30.


The average age of the Olympic Taekwondo team for the U.S. is 27.

There are competitors and medalists who are over age 30.

No, you don't need to have started Taekwondo at age 6 in order to reach that level. Starting at age 14 is a little late, but not an insurmountable issue. The fact that you did karate for 4 years already says that you're already well on track. But even if you started with absolutely no experience whatsoever at age 14, you still have a chance to reach the national team level.

What you need to do is to find a coach that has reliably produced Taekwondo players that have gone on to the nationals. Without that, you probably won't get to that level. They can also listen to what your goals are and advise you after a short period of time training there as to whether or not you have what it takes. They can tell you what it takes to get there, too.

The truth is, the right coach can take someone with your experience level right now and train them up in just a few years to be nearly Olympic level. To get the extra 5% of performance that gets you to Olympic level, you'll take probably 4-6 more years after that. And if you do the math, that would put you right at the average age level of medalists in Olympic TKD.

But again, it's the coach that makes all the difference. If you want to reach Olympic level, you need the best trainer. You can't do it by yourself.

You'll also need to dedicate your life to that pursuit, which for most people isn't realistic. At age 18, you'll be off to college (hopefully). And that's going to take up a ton of your time. You have 4 years to go before you reach that point. A lot can change in that time. So don't worry too much about it. Do what you want to do. Life is short, and you don't get too many chances to pursue your dreams as an adult.

Do have one-on-one meetings with your coach on a regular basis, maybe once a week or once a month. It will be to go over what you need to work on individually. Always begin discussions by stating your goal and asking how to get there from here. You would definitely benefit from taking private lessons with your coach once a week or once every other week. More often if you can afford it. And you need to get out and do tournaments and make sure you're gaining a lot of experience. Pay close attention to your losses and what the other person did to win against you. Enlist other peoples perspectives, too. They will often see something you can't.

And finally, I just want to add that there's a pretty big difference between what a 6 year old trains like and what a 14 year old trains like. Starting at age 6 doesn't mean much, really. At that age, they're not that serious about training. And their bodies are vastly different from a 14 year old's. They spar with other children, and competition at those ages is pretty weak. What you'll find if you start out as a 6 year old and continue with it until you're an adult is that the things you did as a kid don't really work as an adult. You'll realize you weren't so hot after all when you move on to the adult class. For you that means you can actually catch up with them, even starting at age 14, so long as you're highly motivated, train hard, and get the right coach.

Hope that helps.

  • 1
    As anecdotal evidence I would like to add that Yvonne Bönisch, gold medalist in Judo, started with Judo at the age of 13, with no prior martial arts training whatsoever. She was a top gymnast with a highly trained body and the mindset of a winner before that, though. Jan 21, 2021 at 16:59

I can assure you that it's definitely not to late to start with 14. Just one small example I know: We had a guy doing karate since he was 8. But he was really bad and didn't even fight at tournaments, because he was just to bad to compete with the others. Suddenly at age 14, everythnig changed. Suddenly, in a short time, he became one of the best fighters in the club and after one year, he was in the national team.

This can be similar to your case, because you already have some martial arts skills and want to switch from karate to taekwondo. If you are talented and have a good instructor in a good club, which can offer you such things like attending at tournaments and more, then the only things you need are will, a lot of endurance and of course patience. If you have all of these things, then you also are able to reach such a goal like attending at the Olympics.

Wish you all the best.

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