This past Garden State Cup the Taekwondo community witnessed a once in a lifetime performance. Grandmaster Russ Johnson, 72 year old and 9th Dan, competed in the adult poomsae division and ultimately, won first place. He started the day with his regular warm up of stretches and took the stage to demonstrate that age is relative and competed with other youthful athletes in their forties. Spectators and fellow masters watched GM Johnson perform the 9th degree form, Ilyo in utter admiration and reverence.
Russ Johnson started practicing Taekwondo in 1972 while he was in the Air Force in Colorado. He says, “you can practice Taekwondo at any age” and that when you start the key is to be consistent and keep training.
He originally started Taekwondo to learn self-defense to defend himself and his family. He was originally a track runner and jokingly said, “I could always outrun the bad guys, I wanted to learn to fight them”.
Russ Johnson also expressed his love of the discipline and respect of the martial art. He believes that Taekwondo not only teaches kicking and punching, but also important virtues young students can use in their everyday life. He also encourages seniors to take up the martial arts to learn self-defense and keep them healthy.
GM Johnson shows us that it is never too late to start Taekwondo and that their are no excuses! Fitness starts anywhere and for the admirable Russ Johnson, it started with Taekwondo.