Newbie Needs Advice

Discussion in 'Self Defence' started by justanormalguy, May 19, 2015.

  1. justanormalguy

    justanormalguy Valued Member

    I am brand new to the forum and to martial arts/self defense and need some help choosing which discipline to start in. Here is some background about myself:
    -40 year old male
    never involved any any sort of martial arts before
    -6'2" 210 lbs - I'm in fairly good shape. I lift weights (bench, deadlifts and squats) 2 to 3 times a week. I wouldn't consider myself strong but I do have some muscle. My cardio could probably use some work and my optimal weight would be around 190 lbs.
    -I have a desk job but am pretty active outside of work (yard work, house improvement projects, helping kids with sports, etc).
    -I have two kids (7 and 13). My wife supports me in getting involved in some sort of martial arts/self defense and may get involved eventually herself.

    I am looking for a discipline that provides the following in order of importance:
    -Self defense of myself and/or loved ones - I haven't been in a fight in over 15 years and don't find myself in dangerous situations really, but I would like the piece of mind just in case.
    -Confidence - I'm a stereotypical "nice guy" and would love to find a discipline that gives my confidence, the way a carry myself and my overall presentation a bit of a boost. Maybe a bit of "edginess" for lack of a better term.
    -Fitness - Like I said, I would like to loose approximately 20 pounds, so an activity that helps (I'm also working on my diet) would be a bonus.
    -Eventually may be able to teach my wife and kids some self defense from what I learn. My daughter is 13 and I worry about her safety in today's society.

    I'm not really interested in a discipline steeped in tradition, one that is based upon a lot of discipline (I'm 40 years old so not so worried about this aspect) and aren't worried about fancy robes/garb.

    So I ideally would like to get involved in Krav Maga. It seems to have all the qualities I'm looking for and I've wanted to get involved in it for over 5 years now. My problem is that it isn't offered locally. I live in the far west suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, and up until a couple of months ago, the closest location offering such classes was around 45 minutes away (lots of traffic) and only offers beginner classes at 7:30 on Tuesday and Thursday nights. The facility is run by a Certified Level 5 USKMA Krav Maga Instructor and Certified AFAA Kickboxing instructor and is an United States Krav Maga Association member. I think it would be really difficult to attend training classes regularly due to the distance and late classes (kids sports and I getting up at 5 AM for work would make it difficult).

    A new facility recently opened that is only 25 minutes away. It's only been open since March and beginner classes are only offered on Saturdays (a better time for me but only one class time a week leaves less flexibility). The instructor is a Level 1 United States Krav Maga Association certified instructor and will be suppose to take her Level 2 Instructor Testing in April (I haven't talked to her since then). She trains as a Level 3/4 Student at the first facility I mentioned.
    My other option is to take a different discipline. For example, Tae Kwon Do, Hap Ki Do, Judo, Jujitsu, Aikido and a couple of self-defense classes are all offered in our town and are within 5- 10 minutes from our house. Any of these would be more convenient but I don't feel that they fit my criteria as well.

    So I can't decide if I should 1) Enroll in the further Krav Maga program which has been around for a long time and seems to have the most experienced instructors; 2) Enroll at the closer and more convenient Krav Maga program; or 3) look at a discipline. Any and all suggestions/advice are greatly appreciated!
  2. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Moderator

    Feel comfortable sharing where you are, more precisely? (Genuine question) The quality of krav (as anything) can vary wildly. And there may be some other possibilities in your area.

    Hell, I'd seek out a good boxing gym for starters. Say what you will about competition. But a good stiff jab in the nose is an awfully good deterrent.
  3. justanormalguy

    justanormalguy Valued Member

    Thanks ap Oweyn. I live in the far west suburbs of Chicago in Yorkville. Yorkville is just west of Oswego and southwest of Aurora.
  4. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Moderator

    Gotcha. You might check out this place. I can't attest to them personally. But if they're on the level, they might check a lot of your boxes.
  5. Prizewriter

    Prizewriter Moved on

    Hello and welcome.

    In terms of self defence, martial arts skills aren't really as much help as the media portray. That said, there can be a lot of other reasons to do martial arts.

    In terms of self-defence, I would recommend a cheap option. Get a book called "The gift of fear" by Gavin De Becker. Mr De Becker is an expert on self protection and has previously worked with the FBI and a lot of famous people on keeping safe. Anecdotally speaking, I was told about someone who applied what they learned in the book to avoid a potentially very dangerous situation.

    Honestly, I suffer from nice-guyitis too. I've found full contact training helped me. It is also usually an excellent workout.
  6. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member

    Couple of things:

    Welcome to MAP! Nice to have you :)

    Secondly, self defence has almost nothing to do with self defence. Self defence is all about avoiding a fight and avoiding physical confrontation in general. Which you have stated you have been doing for 15 years, so well done! There are books that can be recommended on the topic if you are interested.

    Third, on this forum, unless you are looking for something specific, we will generally tell you to practice the same martial art as us (the individual). For instance I am going to advise you to take BJJ, Muay thai, Wrestling, Sambo, MMA. Any of the above really. This is because martial arts at the end of the day are just about hitting people, so unless you want something specific (spirituality, health, history, culture ETC) then we are going all give different answers.

    You'll also find very few people recommending Krav Maga unless the individual school looks good.

    Good luck!
  7. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    Lots of BJJ and Judo clubs in Chicago area and both styles work great for kids. I wouldn't waste my time with Krav Maga.
  8. justanormalguy

    justanormalguy Valued Member

    Thanks all. A couple of questions......

    1) Doesn't BJJ involve a lot of wrestling?
    2) What would be good suggestions for the contact training mentioned above?
    3) Why is Krav Maga not recommended often?
  9. Prizewriter

    Prizewriter Moved on

    You also have a Roy Dean BJJ affiliate right in your own town. I would seriously check that out!
  10. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    Answered inline.
  11. justanormalguy

    justanormalguy Valued Member

    Thanks! Like I said, I'm not really into the wrestling/grappling techniques (always just kind of creeped me out). That being said, what would be a good discipline that doesn't involve a lot of grappling/wrestling? And what qualities should I be looking for, and what kind of questions should I be asking, to find a good school? Since I know next to nothing about all this, any guidance would be great!
  12. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    Muay Thai. Gyms with fighters who win lots of fights are normally good.

    But you should consider getting over your wrestling insecurities. If 'self defence' is the goal, you'll never achieve it if you can't grapple.
  13. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member

    1) So-so, good grappling has a lot of cross overs when it comes to technique. BJJ has a lot about submissions (breaking peoples arms, legs, and choking them unconscious). Wrestling has no submissions, with an emphasis on pinning and holding people to the ground. In BJJ, the focus is the submission

    2) Any art that can be practised at full contact under safe conditions. So sport arts are your best bet. Many people think sport arts are "not for the street" however because they are pressure tested they often prove to be most effective in a fight.

    3) The quality varies wildly from club to club. Some places are solid, a lot more are well... Crap. I've never seen a krav club that was outstanding though. (I'm very lucky where I'm training though)

    Any more questions, ask away! :)
  14. Giovanni

    Giovanni nefarious editor Supporter

    yorkville? i grew up in aurora, but i've been living in chicago for the last 20 years so really, i can't be of any help.

    except that i know there is a bjj gym that i've heard is pretty solid on the far north east side of aurora. a carlson gracie gym. i know someone who trains there who likes it, and my bjj coach is a carlson guy.

    but that is quite a way for you. there was a hapkido dojang opened in yorkville, and i had trained with the instructor in chicago. but that place has since closed.

    sorry, wish i could be of more help.
  15. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member

    You'll get over the insecurity after about 5 seconds of your first class, haha!
  16. justanormalguy

    justanormalguy Valued Member

    Thanks. Can you explain the difference between grappling and wrestling? When I think of wrestling I think of sweaty guys rolling around trying to pin each other. Maybe I have a misconception here.
  17. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    Wrestling is a type of grappling. Grappling is the umbrella term.

    Nope, that's pretty much it. It's a little bit disgusting, but it's way more fun and it will turn you into a beast.
  18. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Moderator

    Meh, I'm with you actually. I've taken a couple of different forays into BJJ and grappling. And, frankly, it's just not me. As for the self-defense angle, nothing you train is going to be much use for self-defense if you don't enjoy training in it enough to keep at it. So recommending a style you won't enjoy makes no sense to me.

    You can always come up with hypotheticals for which a given style seems to be the answer. "What if he pulls a knife?!" "What if it goes to the ground?!" "What if there are 10 of them?!!" But, at the end of the day, you can't prepare for every eventuality. And there are many eventualities for which martial arts and fighting aren't the answer anyway. (Ever tried to punch a drive-by?)

    What will give you SOME recourse is internalizing a set of techniques well enough that you can implement them under duress. Internalization takes repetition. And repetition requires at least some level of enjoyment. So identify something that 1) you love and 2) isn't far fetched.

    I'd second the muay thai or (my own) boxing suggestion. You learn to hit a moving target while under threat yourself. That alone has enormous implications for your skill level, fitness, and confidence.
  19. Prizewriter

    Prizewriter Moved on

    The place I linked to teaches Judo and BJJ.

    Judo focuses on throwing someone on the ground from standing.

    BJJ focuses on ground grappling.

    That is a generalisation, but both are a great workout.
  20. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    But you don't know what you enjoy until you've given it a fair shot. Lots of people think grappling is weird, and then they try it and they're hooked.

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