Beginning Martial Arts

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by hongkongfuey, Sep 18, 2003.

  1. Kave

    Kave Lunatic

    Martial arts can be divided into a multitude of categories. I feel that the two most useful ways to categorise Martial arts is by how much resistant training (rolling/sparring) is done, or by what range the art focuses on (Weapons/Striking/Grappling).

    Taking a look at arts with a reasonably high level of resistance in training:

    You have the hard sparring striking arts like Muay Thai, Boxing, Knockdown Karate. These tend to involve a high level of hard physical work. If you choose one of these arts you should be prepared for the occasional blood-nose or fat lip. These arts will teach you how to strike others, and how to avoid being struck.

    You have grappling arts with a substantial amount of rolling (the grappling equivalent of sparring). This includes Judo, Sambo, Shuai Jiao, Sumo, Submission Wrestling, Olympic freestyle and Greco-roman Wrestling and many others. These will teach you throws, arm-bars, leg-locks and chokes (as well as teaching you to defend yourself from all the aforementioned techniques).

    You have hard-sparring generalist arts, these cover both grappling and striking. Gyms that fall into this catagory tend to focus on a specific ruleset like MMA, Sanda/Sanshou or Combat Sambo.

    Then you have weapons arts with realistic training. This includes the Filipino Martial Arts such as Anis, Eskrima or Kali. Certain Historical European Martial Arts (or HEMA) groups also fall into this catagory. There are a few other arts as well, but hard training with weapons is very tricky to find. Dog brothers are an organisation that would be worth looking into if you are interested in hard-contact weapons work.

    Looking at arts with a moderate level of resistance in training:

    In striking most taekwondo groups would fall into this category, as would non-knockdown styles of karate. A lot of strip-mall dojos end up in this catagory

    Grappling arts would include harder forms of Aikido such as Shodokan.

    Generalist arts would include Hapkido, Japanese Jujitsu, Ninjutsu and the Self-defence targeted arts such as Krav Maga and Keysi.

    Weapons arts would include Kendo and Fencing.

    Arts with little or no resistance include:

    Grappling arts like Ki Aikido train with little to no resistance.

    Most striking arts include resistance, although many schools train without. An example of a striking art that is prone to being trained in a non-resisting manner is Karate. Striking arts classes aimed at children can often fall into this category.

    Generalist arts like Taijiquan and Baguazhang are often trained with no resistance.

    Weapons arts like Iaido and Kyudo are trained without resistance (AFAIK).

    I hope this list is of some assistance. People will be able to provide more help if you post what is available in your area.
  2. Philo

    Philo New Member

    i am looking to starting a martial arts but i want to be sure that i choose the right one for me.

    i have been showing a preference towards
    TKD (for its powerful kicks and flexibility)
    Wing Chun (for its grace and power with minimal movement)
    Tei-Chi (for the inner strength, balance and co-ordination)
    JKD (because of its unorthadox application as a martial art focused on practical self defence)

    of course i am well aware that i could be so wrong about my choices but thats because i am just looking at MA`s that are appealing on more than one level.

    Or should i focus on personal flexibility first then attempt a Martial Art?
  3. Lad_Gorg

    Lad_Gorg Valued Member

    Note: this reply will be influenced by your intro post.

    First things first, what MA's do you have that are in realistic travel distance from your house? You may not always live close to the MA's that you want to practice, life sucks sometimes. Also if you have to travel too far to practice, then you may find that you liberally take days off due to laziness or being fatigued (assuming you work).

    You're inexperienced with the MA's, so don't take this the wrong way, but your ideas about the above mentioned styles are a bit naive. For example, tai-chi doesn't give you anymore extra co-ordination then for example TKD, and one might go the step farther and say that TKD exercises co-ordination more so than tai-chi due to sparring and drilling techniques on pads (something tai-chi is not known for). So if I were you I wouldn't look at styles like that, because honestly there is a lot more homology in the MA's then most people think. Sure the subtlies are different, but generally it's punching n' kicking, or alternatively throwing n' choking. So IMO, dampen the "style vs. style" mentality a bit. There's nothing wrong with pursuing the style you rlly rlly rlly want to practice, just don't waste too much time on it.

    You seem more interested in just learning a MA and getting fit, as opposed to learning SD, so for you this makes picking a MA very easy. Right off the bat, TKD would probably give you the best cardio you can imagine. Not to mention it's a blast!

    I don't know all that much about WC or JKD, so I can't comment there. But most Tai-Chi schools that are available probably won't give you the best work out, so unless they do good conditioning, they may not be they best school for your needs.

    Have you considered boxing and/or kickboxing? These MA's are easy to find since pretty much every gym offers some kind of boxing class. Also boxing's (and kickboxing's) conditioning is amazing! Not to forget that boxing is well regarded here for being a very effective MA for SD.

    Flexibility is over-rated.
    But also as a beginner you shouldn't worry about that yet. You'll get your flexibility up while in class, you'll only delay your training if you develop flexibility before joining.
  4. Philo

    Philo New Member

    @lad gord that`s a very awesome post thanks.

    i am more interested in the practicing of a martial art for personal development and self discipline rather than practicing with a focus on self defense application however that may change as i further my development and possibly enter tournaments.

    all types of martial arts are practiced in my area but TKD seems to be the most available for me distance wise, i have considered Boxing but its the eastern arts that interest me mostly because of the philosophy and background behind them.

    i appreciate your words and have taken them into account.
  5. Lad_Gorg

    Lad_Gorg Valued Member

    Glad that I was able to help.

    Just to prep you a bit, you probably won't find to many MA clubs that actually teach philosophy and background in classes. Clubs may have a code of conduct that you should follow whilst in class, but rarely do they sit down and have a lecture on philosophy.
    But that doesn't stop you from learning these things on your own. There are a crazy amount of books on the subject, not mention internet sites (like MAP :p). So again I wouldn't fret too much on this topic.

    Of course you should practice what you like the most, this is just my two cents.
  6. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    to echo what has been said, dont have too many preconceptions about anyone style, juast go along to as many introduction classes as you can, take part watch the seniors and see if anything there matches your needs.

    Most importantly find a teacher you like thats probably more important than the style to be honest

    As for the flexability issue look up joe defrancos agile eight (and his upper body 6) warm up on youtube, its free can be do in 10 minutes and will help you enormously
  7. Philo

    Philo New Member

    after doing some more research into the available classes in my area most of them are understandably in the evenings, this is a problem for me as my girlfriend works in the evenings 4-8 and my daughter is too young to take with me and far to young to leave at home.

    so what would any of you recommend doing?
    is there a certain level that i can reach without a teacher or are there some things i can do while i try to figure out a way of getting to a class or perhaps finding a weekend class?

    i really don`t want this to be finished before it starts is there any advice you guys can give to someone who cant get to classes or a teacher.
  8. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    either find a full time school which teaches daytime classes or a teacher who teaches at the weekend, without a teacher you simply wont be able to learn an art sorry
  9. Lad_Gorg

    Lad_Gorg Valued Member

    Well it depends on what you have the availability to do. If you can afford a baby-sitter for 2 nights in the week, then maybe that will be ideal for you. Or maybe you have family that can look after your daughter. At any rate, this is something you'll have to figure out.

    Besides shadowing what icefield said.
    Maybe joining a gym would be a good idea. Since most gyms are open all day, so you can build up your base strength at a time that is ideal for you and your family. It does mean that you won't get to practice MA until your situation favours it, but life gets in the way sometimes.
    Maybe, if you daughter is old and willing enough, you can do family MA classes, but from experience, it may not challenge you (the adult) all that much.
  10. Moosey

    Moosey invariably, a moose Supporter

    How old is your daughter? Old enough for it to be worth looking into a class that could accommodate both of you?
  11. Philo

    Philo New Member

    no she is too young to attend with me (16 months)

    my only option really is to look into some form of babysitter for the duration of time i`m not there.
    i will continue to search and speak to some of the local schools and see if they have classes on weekends or daytime that are not on there schedule it`s a long shot but i can hope. thanks for all the input so far though and it gives me time to really research the MA i want to practice and increase my general fitness beforehand.
  12. vettip

    vettip New Member

    Getting started


    I am interested in learning a martial art, but I have no idea where to start.
    I'm 17 years old and I'm a girl. I'm about 5'7 and 170 lbs. I'm not very flexible or strong (or fast in terms of running), but I'm more than willing to work on that. I'm asthmatic and have current lower back problems because I broke a vertebra last year, I'm currently going to physiotherapy and it's getting better. It might also be good to state that I'm very insecure, about pretty much everything. I'm most interested in philosophy, self defense (and defense of loved ones) and self discipline.

    Next school year (in about 2 months) I will be doing a very intensive study. It requires a lot of self-study, about 84 hours per 3 college hours, so it would also be great if the martial art could be easily practiced in a home environment in case I can't go, because school is still more important than sports.

    The martial arts that are around where I live are:
    - Muay Thai
    - Brazilian Jiu Jitsue (but I would rather not go there yet because of my lower back problems)
    - Taekwondo
    - Pencak Silat (I have never heard of this and have no idea what it is, so if someone could explain what is it, that would be great)
    - Bushido
    - Kickboxing

    A little further away (but still doable):
    - Shuri Ryu-karate
    - Jeet Kune Do

    Are there any recommendations on the martial arts, or should I get in shape first and then take lessons?

    Also I love the site, looks like a very good place to look around and gather information and tips in the (hopefully) near future.
  13. Kave

    Kave Lunatic

    Definitely not. Most people that wait to get in shape before starting martial arts never end up actually starting. If you do choose an art like Muay Thai, you will get fit from taking the art.

    Personally of the choices you have I would choose Muay Thai, but a lot depends on the quality of the gym. The best way to judge a Muay Thai gym is to exam the fight records of the coaches, and also of the students. Muay Thai is a sport, so the club should be competing. If the club is not competing then I would avoid it.

    Pencak Silat is an umbrella term that refers to Indonesian martial arts. Most Pencak Silat has a focus on knife/blade fighting, although there is also a broad cross-section of unarmed techniques as well.

    Have you considered Boxing? Boxing is widely available, often very cheap and is also increasingly popular with females. Many Martial Arts gyms are extremely male dominated, and some can find this uncomfortable. Boxing is one of the most effective martial arts you will find.
  14. vettip

    vettip New Member

    Thank you for your fast reply Kave

    If the club competes, would I have to compete or do I get a choice?

    I have considered boxing, but the fact that boxing is "hands only" put me off, because I'd like to incorporate my legs as well. Also as far as I know, the philosophy and self-descipline aren't there as much as with other martial arts, if they are adressed at all.
  15. shootodog

    shootodog restless native

    Vettip hello

    Muay is a solid choice for as long as the gym is legitimate. Fighters fight. That's what they do. So should theirs.

    Silat would be a nice choice given that you are a bit concerned with your lower back. The lack of regular hard contact might suit you as you heal your back.

    Boxing is always always a good choice. Practical, cheap, available, and teaches many things such as speed power and endurance and resistance. Just like Muay, though, it depends on the gym. Make sure that they are a fighting gym. Boxing is also a great start point on your martial ars journey. There is no mystical magical thing going on. Just good basics and hard work.

    None of these are suitable for home training though. I mean you could do some conditioning drills and shadow boxing at home but you will not progress unless you go in for lessons. Given your timeframe, my vote would go to Muay or Boxing or Kali.
  16. Frodocious

    Frodocious She who MUST be obeyed! Moderator Supporter

    I would agree with the suggestion to try the Muay Thai classes and see how you get on, (although you could try all of those styles and see which club you feel the most comfortable with).

    You could train BJJ with lower back problems (I do) but it's probably advisable to wait until your injury is a little more healed and you've built up your core strength again.

    I wouldn't bother getting in shape before you start lessons, as others have said, the lessons themselves will help you get in shape. You could start working on your fitness as well as taking lessons (but don't try to add too much training in all at the same time).

    As for competing, your club should give you the choice as to whether or not you compete - every club I've ever trained at has.

    As for training at home, you can either do a style with kata (patterns) that can be trained by yourself or, your other option is to work on strength, conditioning and flexibility when training at home - all of which will help your martial arts training.
  17. shootodog

    shootodog restless native

    1) you have a choice.

    2) that is the myth about boxing. The power of boxing comes from your legs. Notice how well built boxers legs are. They don't skip leg day!
  18. vettip

    vettip New Member

    Thank you all so much for your replies. I will check out the Muay Thai gyms and if that doesn't feel right I'll look at boxing.

    You all have been a great help, thanks again!
  19. nocturnal

    nocturnal Valued Member

    From those options above, I would recommend Kick Boxing. It'll get you into shape. Muay Thai, as recommended by some others, will also get you into shape, but I've never seen any girls doing Muay Thai in all the Muay Thai gyms/clubs that I've visited. Bear in mind I haven't visited that many Muay Thai gyms/clubs.
  20. LeaFirebender

    LeaFirebender Ice Bear has ninja stars

    We have a new muay thai class where i train, and yeah it took FOREVER before any girls joined, and I still feel really intimidated by the amount of machoness in that class. And I'm not one of those girls who never hangs out with guys, in fact i'd say at least 50% of my friends are male. Kickboxing is usually the equivalent with more women.

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