How Often Should You Train in Taekwondo?


We all know that training in any sport takes a while to get good at. But are martial arts like Taekwondo different and if you train more frequently, does that speed up your progress? More specifically, how often should you train in Taekwondo?

Here’s what I know from taking a look:

Most practitioners train in Taekwondo 2-3 times per week. However, for those with the goal of competing at Taekwondo in the Olympics, training four to five days a week, and starting at a young age is necessary.

But those are only 2 examples. Some just want to get fit. Others want to learn self-defense, while others might want to be a Taekwondo instructor.

So in this article, we’ll take a look at the art of Taekwondo and see what some of the most common practices are, and if training more often really helps you get that much better.

Let the fun begin!

How many days a week should you train in Taekwondo?

If you’re not aiming to be an instructor, Olympic athlete, or using it for self-defense, 2 to 3 days a week is sufficient. For self-defense, ideally, practice 3-4 times per week, and 5 days a week for those looking to be instructors or professional athletes.

For us to do justice to the question above, there’s another sub-question we’ll need to address.

It’s one of the most vital questions you could ask. And, the answer will help you with the one above and throughout your Taekwondo career.

The question is: Why are you learning Taekwondo?

It’s a simple question, right? There are folks who pick it up just to keep fit. For some, it’s simply a hobby. While for others, it’s a competitive sport, they’re devoted to it. And, there are those whose aim is to use it for self-defense.

Once you’re clear why you’re learning it in the first place, you’ll be able to decide how quickly you want to achieve your aim.

A person who’s training to compete in the Olympics in a year, and another who’s merely interested in keeping fit, would need different amounts of training.

Why? What you’re really aiming for is an intuitive mastery of the techniques so that you can use them without thinking. When you have this level of mastery, you become swift, nimble, and lethal.

Of course, it goes without saying that how many days you can actually train will depend on your station in life.

If you’re a student or a self-employed person, you may find it easy to walk into a dojo five or more days each week. But, if you don’t have much time, you’ll just have to make the best of the few days you have.

And as I’m fond of saying, ANY amount of martial arts training is better than none.

How long does it take to progress in Taekwondo?

It takes a minimum of 6 months to start to see noticeable progress in Taekwondo. A black belt in Taekwondo will take 4-5 years. Training multiple times per week does speed up progress somewhat, but there’s no substitute for time. 

And, truth be told, this is not a long time. If you’re really into what you’re learning, the time would fly.

We often say that each human being is unique, right? And it’s true. Our fingerprints and idiosyncrasies testify to that fact. So, how long it takes each individual varies.

There are folks who only do the minimum required when they’re doing anything, and there are those who do what’s required and even a lot more. Naturally, the rate at which both hypothetical examples would progress would differ.

The quality of the instruction you’re receiving is perhaps the most vital factor in the rate at which you’ll progress.

From what I have been sharing so far, we can infer one obvious truth, what we get from any martial art system, Taekwondo included, depends simply on what we put in. It’s the law of life.

What we sow, we reap. So, if you’d like to accelerate your progress, you have to devote more time to training.

Of course, progress is a subjective word, and it also depends on what you want out of your Taekwondo training. If progress to you means a black belt, that would naturally require years of training.

Why?

It shows that you now know the techniques. It’s not seen by masters as the ultimate because there’s really no end to learning. In fact, they see the black belt as a “beginner” stage in the mastery phase!

Wondering if you can progress faster at a different martial art like Aikido?

That’s exactly what I explored in a recent article of mine. While any 2 martial arts are hard to compare due to their differences, there is 1 key difference here that can cut training time significantly for one of them.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can you train in Taekwondo every day?

It’s not ideal to train Taekwondo every day when first starting out. With any form of workout, it is important to have recovery time. But those just starting out also risk mentally burning out by training too often.

New practitioners would ideally train 3 days per week, and then increase frequency as they progress. But it does also depending on a few other factors.

Kids will most certainly burn out and lose interest if going more than 2-3 times per week. But older teens and adults who have busy schedules can also burn out if they put the expectation on themselves to train every day.

So start with a reasonable schedule. You can always ramp it up. But when someone overdoes it and burns out, they rarely return to that practice.

But when the time is right, there are many benefits to training every day.

Permit me to share one of my favorite quotes from Will Durant (often misattributed to Aristotle). It speaks to what I am trying to share in this section.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

In almost any walk of life, the masters in those fields practice their crafts every day, even when it seems as if there’s really no reason to do so.

Some of the most accomplished pianists, for example, wake up each day and play J.S. Bach. Some of the best athletes run each day. Michael Jordan used to shoot hoops daily. It’s because they all know the value of the quote.

So DO challenge yourself.

If you are training 2-3 times per week and LOVE it, and are already in decent shape where recovery time is minimal, by all means, ramp it up!

Is it worth training Taekwondo only 1 or 2 days a week?

Yes, training Taekwondo 1-2 days per week can still enable a student to progress, gain valuable techniques, and become a skilled practitioner. The belt progression may take longer, but a black belt is still possible.

But ultimately, it depends.

If you’re hoping to compete in a tournament in a few months or if you need to be able to defend yourself if you ever got into a fight (and you needed the skills as soon as possible), a day or two may not cut it.

That’s the honest truth.

But, if you’re simply trying to get fit or if it’s just a hobby, 1 or 2 days a week is cool as long as you make the best of each training session.

Plus, you can always ramp up your training later as your schedule allows.

Or if your dojo offers different classes at different times, consider mixing it up. Personally, while most of my classes each week are BJJ, I also like doing boxing and kickboxing too.

Now is boxing better than Taekwondo?

I’ve got the answer for you in a recent article of mine. It’s very hard to compare those 2 as they are so different and each offers different benefits. However, with one of those 2, you can make significantly more progress in the same amount of time. Even if just training 1-2 days per week.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can you learn other martial arts faster than Taekwondo?

Krav Maga typically sees practitioners master that art in 2-3 years compared to Taekwondo taking 5 or more years to master. But many other martial arts, such as BJJ or Karate, can take longer than Taekwondo to earn a black belt.

As I have shown in some of the paragraphs above, the time it takes to learn any martial art is not set in stone. It’s a combination of many factors. So, what we’re dealing with here are “average” durations.

But I also don’t want you focused on how quickly you can do it, or how fast you can earn a black belt. As they say, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. And if a school offers a black belt in 2-3 years, run, don’t walk, to a different dojo.

That said, it’s true some arts would take you a shorter time.

As I mentioned, Krav Maga is one where you could become a master in 2 to 3 years. The reason is that there are no complicated moves to learn. The techniques employed are clear, simple, but deadly. In fact, if you’re devoted, after 12 months of training, you’re already a lethal weapon.

Boxing is another example, although technically it’s not a martial art.

Like most arts, you’ll need years to become a master. But, if you get a great coach and you practice daily, you won’t become Mohammed Ali or Tyson in two years, but you will become deadly.

Its main benefits are that you learn how to dodge and defend yourself, and above all, you learn how to throw punches that could make an Alpha male cry. In fact, you would be able to knock out many macho types.

Taekwondo is one of the martial arts that takes the shortest amount of time to learn. So, you probably won’t find many that take a shorter time.

Conclusion

In the preceding paragraphs, we learned about how many days one should train per week in Taekwondo.

But we also looked at how long it takes to progress if training a day or two each week is worth it if you can train daily, and whether there are other martial arts you could learn faster.

Ultimately, training 2-3 times per week is ideal.

Ramping that up to 3-4 times per week as you progress is even better. But never forget that ANY martial arts training is better than none, and there’s no better time to start than now.

Wonder how Judo compares to Taekwondo?

I compare both of those in a recent article. Both are Olympic sports, but do the similarities stop there? Are there any techniques that overlap? Which one is better?

Just click that link to read it on my site.


Photo which requires attribution:

giant sparring 2 by popofatticus is licensed under CC2.0

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell was Academy Director for a large martial arts school for over 7 years, and has trained extensively in a variety of martial arts including Brazilian Jiujitsu, different styles of Karate, the Russian Martial Art of Systema, Aikido, and much more.

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