An embarrassment of riches

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by MetalBoar, Jan 19, 2021.

  1. MetalBoar

    MetalBoar Blue Belt

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    Yep, even though it's farther than I want to drive it's definitely on my list of places to check out.

    BJJ wasn't really one of my first choices for a new art but there seem to be so many options for great training that I feel like it would be silly not to at least do some trial sessions at one or two of the better looking schools to give it a chance.
     
  2. Ivan

    Ivan Purple Belt

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    Decide what type of training you prefer too, and why you want to train. If you're looking for selfd-defense you should eliminate classes that you're sure wouldn't feature sparring (some websites have disclaimers for this).

    Next, you can eliminate by your physical ability: are you looking for a martial art that is physically intensive or no? Any previous injuries that might limit your mobility? Capoeira and Wrestling have an extreme physical demand. Capoeira requires immense flexibility and upper body strength for more than half of its techniques.

    Finally, what type of martial arts do you prefer? Grappling, striking, or lock-based? Some people get really intense in tight spaces. Personally, I feel like wrestling and BJJ would be very, very difficult for me as I panic when my body's tied up and I can't do anything about it. There's something about it that feels extremely invasive, but that's the nature of the sport.
     
  3. MetalBoar

    MetalBoar Blue Belt

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    Yeah, self defense isn't my biggest motivator per se, but for me I don't feel like there's much point doing a martial art if it isn't actually martial. I mean, I could do yoga or partner dancing if I just wanted to add another physical activity to my routine. So, I don't want to train someplace where combat applications are an after thought or non-existent, but I'm also OK with a school that takes a little longer to build up to a point of practical use. I seem to be in a pretty safe place in terms of risks. I'm old enough that young guys with something to prove don't really pay attention to me but I'm just shy of 6' tall and have been lifting weights for decades so I don't look like a victim either and I've done enough martial arts over the years to feel like I have some tools to defend myself or my wife if someone does decide to target one of us.

    I tried to filter out the schools that looked like they didn't spar at all but it can be really hard to tell from the web site. I'm interested to see how things are here in Arizona. In Seattle I feel like it's gotten to where there are very few schools (outside of MMA/BJJ/Boxing) that do much sparring/fully resisted training and even if they do spar a lot of times it's just point sparring or very light contact. I'm not saying that I want to do full contact sparring every class or anything but I do feel that there is real value to doing at least moderate intensity sparring more than just a few times a year. Unlike some people I don't think that good sparring by itself guarantees that a school provides good self defense training, but I do agree that if a school never spars it's going to have to have some things really well thought out to cover that gap.
    For the most part this isn't a concern. I'm almost 50 but I'm in good health, work out and I'm not afraid of physical exertion. I'm sure I'll have to get used to any new training routine and it'll take longer than it did 30 years ago but I'm reasonably confident I can still adapt to pretty much anything short of professional level athletics. I'm not really looking for something like many boxing gyms where they're going to expect me to do a lot of jump rope and road work because that bores me to tears, but doing something like wrestling or BJJ, where practicing the art itself requires a lot of physical effort, would be great.

    I've been pretty lucky in terms of injuries. About the only thing that has stuck with me was a neck injury that happened about 20 years ago when a training partner didn't release me from a throw properly and piled me head first into the mat. That resulted in some troubles with vertigo and that were still cropping up for well over a decade. I started a really focused neck strengthening routine about 4 years ago and it seems to have pretty much fixed the issue at this point, but I do have some concerns about grappling arts where my head might get torqued around. It was definitely a problem when I was doing arts with a lot of rolls or anything that got my head spinning which is part of the reason I don't want to do Aikido and am a little leery of anything with frequent high falls. Striking arts don't seem to be a problem, I did some boxing back even before I started really focusing on building up my neck strength and getting my head knocked about didn't seem to cause any problems with vertigo at all.

    Another thing (not exactly an injury) that turns me off to ground work is that I have extremely thin skin on the inside of my biceps and when I have done ground work in the past it has always resulted in terrible abrasions in this area that are extremely painful and slow to heal. I know people ask what sort of wimp I am for complaining about this but it's more painful than the time I cracked my ribs and it has happened just about every time I've done significant ground work. I've never worn a rash guard and I want to try that out to see if it helps but a heavy gi provides no significant protection by itself.

    Flexibility is a problem and always has been. I did 5 years of Hapkido back in my middle to late 20's and it took ~3 years of daily stretching to get to where I could usefully kick above my waist and almost 5 before I could do head height kicks. I doubt that the last 20 years have improved my abilities in this regard. TKD, Capoeira, and other arts that require that level of flexibility would be a challenge but maybe not an insurmountable one. I just tried to bull my way to being flexible last time I was in an art that required it and I've since learned that it's better to find an expert to show you something new if what you're doing isn't working. I haven't found that flexibility expert yet but I'm willing to bet they exist. On the other hand, I don't think there's any huge intrinsic value to being able to do head level kicks so I'm not really worried about it unless I find a school that I'm super excited by that requires that kind of flexibility.

    Historically, I have preferred striking with mostly low kicks and stand up grappling/locks. I've got some similar feelings to yours (in bold) about really disliking being tied up on the ground but for that reason I've thought that I might like to get good at ground work so that I have more say in the matter if someone intent on actually hurting me takes me to the ground.

    Still, I would prefer to do an art that's focused on striking but has a good set of tools for trapping/clinch/stand up grappling or a stand up grappling art that really focuses on not being taken to the ground. From some of the things @Kung Fu Wang has said, Shuai Jiao sounds like it would be great for this. It's also a part of why I've been interested in CMA's as most (all?) have aspects of striking and stand up grappling, though finding a school that teaches and practices effective applications has proven difficult. Right now, of the schools that are really close to home, I think the Sanda club may be the best fit if it's got good instruction.
     
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  4. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    If it's a panic you feel, there's a simple solution for that. The more you engage in the activity, the less you'll panic about it. Either slowly, or if you can handle it, through flooding (which is basically what BJJ would be for you).

    You probably won't ever love it, but the fear part will go away. And since your goal is to become a MA teacher eventually, that's something you'll have to get through at some point.
     
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  5. Ivan

    Ivan Purple Belt

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    I already signed up for some BJJ, but due to the pandemic, that's been blown out of the water for the moment.
     
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  6. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    If you have trouble with vertigo, then I suspect capoeira might not be a good fit for you. Lots of cartwheels, handstands, and other upside-down and spinning kind of stuff.
     
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  7. MetalBoar

    MetalBoar Blue Belt

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    I was concerned about that. I've never trained in Capoeira but it looks like a really cool art so if the nearby school seemed good I thought it might be worth trying just to see. But, yeah, between my (maybe resolved) vertigo and lack of flexibility, there's a good chance that it wouldn't be a good fit for me.
     
  8. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Don’t be afraid to give it a try. Only you can decide if the fit is good or not. But given what you have mentioned, my suspicion is maybe not so good.
     
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  9. Harry Flannagan

    Harry Flannagan White Belt

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    Flexibility is something you can work on. I think in the west, we dont pay much attention to flexibility and spend enough time on it. Even though, it can help soooo much
    I have been stretching much more now with the lockdown and I feel so much better. Imporved my cardio, technique and I sleep much better. The tention in my back and neck is much less too. I got a split trainer from xmartial and it helps tremendously Training Equipments123
     
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