If you are interested in learning taekwondo, the best way to do it is by finding someone experienced in the sport who can teach everything. As any other sport, taekwondo involves a lot of movement, which can't really be learned or mastered just by reading or watching videos about it, but rather by practicing the sport's moves over and over again, preferably with someone to help you. Naturally, watching youtube videos and tutorials can also help you learn taekwondo and get better at it. Nonetheless, there is still a lot about taekwondo that you can learn on your own. Like most of the martial arts, taekwondo has a philosophy behind it, a way to live life taught through the sport. The taekwondo values and philosophy are very interesting to learn and can be helpful for those who practice any sport, but also for those who have no intention of doing so. There are many websites and taekwondo forums that can teach you about the history and philosophy of taekwondo, in addition to many books on the subject.
Taekwndo is the most popular martial art in America, with over 1.5 million people practicing it in the United States, and around 50 million in the whole world. With such big numbers, it is not hard to get into taekwondo at all. Taekwondo academies are everywhere, of all sizes, levels, and of all different variations of the sport. The best way to get into taekwondo is by searching for taekwondo academies near you, chances are high that there will be more than one. Academies usually have experimental lessons for those trying the sport for the first time, and if you decide you want to practice the sport, most have beginner level classes. In addition to that, academies usually have some of the equipment you may need to begin practicing the sport, and if not many times they offer it to you for pretty reasonable prices.
Learning any sport without a proper experienced instructor or athlete to teach is very hard, and it is not different with taekwondo. Someone who has a taekwondo teacher will likely be better and improve faster than someone who chooses to learn the martial art by himself or herself. However, if it is very hard for someone to travel all the way to a taekwondo academy, or maybe it is too expensive to pay the price of an academy or instructor, some of the sport can be learned alone. There are video tutorials online that teach the basic positions and moves of the sport. A good way to practice is to do the moves in front of a mirror, or record yourself practicing, while comparing your moves with those of the video you are watching or pictures you are seeing. You may even send a video of yourself to an instructor and get it reviewed by a true expert. Still, it is unlikely that someone can self teach taekwondo, and if possible an instructor should be sought.
Like all martial arts, taekwondo uses a belt system to identify the level of the athletes who practice the sport. So, the word "learn" can be a little subjective, as learning taekwondo is a continuous process, which ends with the award of the black belt, the highest one, to the athlete. In taekwondo, a very dedicated student can get to the black belt as soon as 4-5 years after starting to practice it, as said before, with lots of dedication. However, someone who doesn't have a black belt has also learned taekwondo, or at least some part of it. For someone to be above the basic beginner level in taekwondo, it should take less than one year, and a student can get to the yellow belt, the second after the white, in as short as three months.
There are easy and hard parts about the process of learning taekwondo. Taekwondo is a group of set movements which must be perfectly executed at the right time during a match by the best athletes. By practicing taekwondo, it is easy to memorize and know the moves and forms. A student can have a pretty complete and extensive knowledge of the forms in a short period of time. The hard part about taekwondo, as in any other sport, is executing the moves well, and at the right time. Practice is required to master the sport, and that takes time and dedication.
Before your first taekwondo class, do not buy anything. Don't spend unnecessary money on equipment before talking to your taekwondo instructor. In your first class, tell your instructor that you are invested in the sport, and plan to buy some of the essential gear for beginners, if necessary. It is likely that you will need a taekwondo uniform, a dobok, of your own to wear during practices. You can find specialized websites from which to buy the proper equipment, but it is probably better to again, listen to your taekwondo instructor, and see if he or she has a trusted seller. The gear you will need will also vary according to the "type" of taekwondo you will be practicing, as they are very different and may require things like nunchucks or footpads.
The biggest recurring expense when learning taekwondo will undoubtedly be the cost of taekwondo lessons or the hour charged by an instructor. Different academies have different prices and deals, but classes can cost $100 to $200 per month. Taking into consideration that there will also be some extra fees such as registration, and also the cost of acquiring some of the basic equipment needed by taekwondo athletes, the cost of beginning to learn taekwondo can be around $400. However, that total goes down as time elapses, as there will be no need to constantly buy new personal taekwondo specific equipment. As said before, learning the sport is a process, which requires continuing attendance to classes, and as a consequence, continuing payment for classes.