For Beginners: The Best Martial Art of All!

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by Bill Mattocks, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Since people like to ask this question, I thought I'd save some time and cut to the chase. Everyone wants to know what martial art is the most effective, which one is 'best', which one is best for them, given their body type / athletic ability / age / desire to whoop *** / etc. I have the answer.

    The best martial art for you is the one you actually...

    a) enjoy
    b) continue training in
    c) practice when you're not officially training

    All martial arts have their pluses and minuses. All of them have some similarities and some differences. All of them can be taught well or taught poorly. Everyone is better-suited for some more than others. But you'll never know and no one can tell you which of these is best for you unless you go out and explore them on your own. Don't hang around online asking questions so much. Go visit the training centers near you. Watch, listen, ask questions. Try them out if you can without making a commitment. Then ask questions online about your short list. Pick one and make a commitment to yourself, even if not required by the training center in question.

    The number one secret of martial arts training is perseverance. Train when you're tired. Train when you have been working too much. Train when the weather is bad. Train when the weather is good. Train when you'd rather be somewhere else. Train when you have a headache. Train when you hate martial arts that day. Train when you're sore and bruised from the last training session. When you're sick, train at home.

    When you train, give it everything you have. Every punch should have snap, every kick should pop. The last one should sound like the first one. If you sandbag and lay back because you're tired, sore, bored, or whatever, you only cheat yourself. You are only driving half as fast as the speed limit; you'll take twice as long to arrive at your destination.

    Don't be ashamed to be a beginner. Don't be ashamed to not be good. No one came in wearing a white belt and was Bruce Lee from day one.

    Don't worry about others who advance faster, who seem to pick things up more quickly than you, who seem more gifted. If anything, my experience has shown that very often, the people who are the most gifted quit the soonest. This race is not to the fastest, it's to the person who keeps putting one foot in front of the other the longest.

    Understand that martial arts is not like going to college - you go, you get your degree, you're all done. It's life-long. You don't master martial arts, it masters you. Your student status is perpetual. If that thought bothers you, martial arts is not for you.

    If you wonder when you'll be good at the martial art skills you're learning, the answer is that you will eventually be good, but you won't know when you get there. Each year, you'll look back and laugh at the thoughts you had when you thought you had finally become proficient the previous year. Then the following year, the same thing. In other words, you never get good, you just get better.

    If you have an excuse, a reason why you're not good, the problem is generally not your reason, the problem is you. Your knee hurts, so you can't kick? So punch until your knee is better. You can't do pushups? Then practice something else that increases upper body strength until you can. You are not flexible? Then stretch more and be patient, and do what you can do. You're too old? Then you're trading air speed for altitude; play to your strengths and find ways around your weaknesses.

    Bottom line, though, is this. Keep training. Keep training. Keep training. If you want the secret to martial arts success, the secret is no secret. Keep training. If you do not train, you do not succeed. Keep training. The best martial art? The one you choose and then KEEP TRAINING.
     
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  2. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    Optionally, Isshin Ryu, because it suits everyone :D


    All humorous references aside, People can overthink these things a bit to begin with. Since any MA is going to be Subjective to the Instructer AND the Style, you really have to go and see.

    EDIT: Also, People tend to expect too much too soon. But once you REALLY start Training, which i find is usually Two Belts after your Beginners Belt depending on the Style, you begin to fall into a good Cycle of "I cant believe i couldnt do all this last Week!" Or, "Wow, I used to STRIKE like THAT?". And i found, that once you fall into that, everything gets better, because you can SEE the Improvement.
    Quite like Flexibility, you will NOT see if for WEEKS. You just have to keep it up, until you start to, and it gets smoother from there.
    Now apply that Logic to everything else.
     
  3. seasoned

    seasoned Grandmaster Staff Member

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    Very nice thread, Bill. One of the best ways to train in reality, is just the way you mention it. By not stopping your training, you learn to modify. Coming up through the ranks personally, my Sensei always advocated to rest certain areas that are injured, while focusing on the weaker areas. If not in the dojo, always at home.
     
  4. David43515

    David43515 Master Black Belt

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    Bill, if you`re not careful people are going to be quoting that for decades to come. If you don`t mind, may I print it out (with credit given of course) to show to my own students?
     
  5. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm flattered that you think it worthy; by all means please take, use.
     
  6. OKenpo942

    OKenpo942 Purple Belt

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    Well said, Bill. In short, shut up & train. lol.

    James
     
  7. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    LOL, like this?

    http://www.animalpak.com/store/html/product.cfm?id=138

    Seriously, though...more like don't ask what martial art is the best for you, because no one knows. Find an art you like, then keep training at it. A bit kinder and gentler than the gentleman's attitude in the link above, maybe?
     
  8. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    A good Comparative is Kickboxing and BJJ.

    Simply because one is a Stand Up Art, the Other a Ground Art.
    Some People are only suited to learn One of the Two.
    Others will Learn Both.
    Theres no Logic to what Art is 'Best'. Only Practical Knowledge of which is 'Best' for YOU.
     
  9. Monroe

    Monroe Purple Belt

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    I can't speak for everyone else, but I'm on here asking questions because I'm intimidated. I have auditory processing disorder and have difficulty communicating in person. Reading and asking questions online is a safe starting point. I slow down and things one step at a time. This approach has worked for me in other areas in the past.
     
  10. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    Wholeheartedly agree with that. I like martial arts history and have looked into many of the old karate masters and modern masters and their lives and styles. They all have one thing in common that made their approach so good. It is a DEDICATED PERSONAL STUDY. It didn't matter what style they came from or created, what made it so good was their dedication to it.


    Like Bill said, find something you like and stick with it and give it your all. I'm sure all of us have had/seen students float through the dojo looking for "the deadliest style" that can be mastered with no effort and then move on to the next thing that they think holds the "secret".

    Also, whatever you find should match what you are looking for. I have recommended other schools to parents/students because their kids wanted something more acrobatic with jumping and spinning kicks etc. that looks like what they saw on tv/movie. I don't have what they are looking for and I am honest about that, no sense in wasting time or trying to justify my approach. Different strokes for different folks, neither is better or worse when it comes to personal taste.
     
  11. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    Bill isn't suggesting that no one should come here to ask questions. He does suggest looking around before coming here. That doesn't work for everyone, and that's OK. I have yet to see anyone who comes here asking that type of question, not get good answers. I think you have seen that in two threads you have started. But it may well help some to narrow down their search before coming here. For those that approach won't help, go ahead and start here.

    One thing you should really take from his post and answers to it, is if you want to learn an MA, understand you will only learn useful things and get good by commitment and continuous training. You start as a beginner, and you stay a learner for most if not all, of your martial arts career. From the job you mentioned having, I would assume you know that, and can commit, and learn.

    Don't be too discouraged by posts such as Bill's. They are meant to help, and will in fact help the majority of people. If they don't help you, do it your way. BTW, that is one of the things I liked about the Hapkido I learned. In TKD, we were taught "the" way to do it. In the Hapkido I learned, we were taught the best way for most people, but always we were taught to make modifications if we had to in order to make it work for us. Usually the way we were taught was in fact the best, but we weren't locked into "the" way if some minor change worked best for us. I can't promise any other Hapkido school will do the same, or that other arts won't.
     
  12. Narges

    Narges Yellow Belt

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    Thankyouthankyouthankyou! Fantastic post. :)
     
  13. Indie12

    Indie12 Blue Belt

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    Well Said! Couldn't have said it better!
     
  14. Mike Melillo

    Mike Melillo White Belt

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    I REALLLY needed to hear this, especially after the dreadful workout I had last night. Thank you for putting into words the inspiration all MAs need to hear when discouraged.
     
  15. c.chambers

    c.chambers White Belt

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    I encourage all people to shop for a martial arts school much like you would a new car. Another words. Do not join the 1st school you try out or observe. Many people take martial arts for many reasons. You have to descide what you want to gain from martial art training and go from there. Go to many or all schools available in your area and then decide. I understand that money is also an issue for many beginners, but try not to put a price tag on your training. There are some not so pricy schools that are great and some that are not so great and like wise with schools that have higher monthly tuition fees. The bottom line is that it is not the martial art style, but rather the instructors teaching ability and the instructors ability to suit your goals in martial art training. And like cars you may descide that you may wish to trade it in for another style. I do not encourage style jumping, but if it is not right for you then find one that is, but always give your 1st instructor the respect that he deserves. As I implied, style jumping is not honorable, which is why you should shop around before officially joining any school. Loyalty and dedication is one of the most beneficial ways to help you through your martial arts journey. When I have students come to my school that has been style jumping it automaticly puts up a red flag, especially if they have jumped from one school to another to another and to another. It is hard to trust them. But I also understand that time will tell. So take your martial art shopping very seriously. thank you, sigung Chambers
     

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