Hi, everyone. Looking for some advice from people more knowledgeable than myself. I have no martial arts or physical combat experience. Always been fairly cerebral, not physical at all. I've always been pretty skinny, and body is still pretty flexible. I'm in my late thirties. I've decided I specifically want to take up martial arts. After some time considering my options, I've decided I'm specifically interested in some form of Kung Fu, mainly to get some exposure to it, as I have some interest in learning more about Qi Gong philosophy later on down the line, and am possibly interested in taking up Praying Mantis in the future. However, I don't think Praying Mantis is appropriate for me to start with, as my shorter-term goals are to become fairly adept (relative to the general population) at physical self defense within a few years. Praying Mantis is something I might want to dedicate the longer amount of time required to later on in life, but for my more immediate goals, I am interested in gaining some decent self defense skills, and I understand many students of Praying Mantis are only intermediate even after six years of training. I've thought about Iron Body Shaolin, but I read about how the training regimen really involves toughening up your body a lot, first with slapping your body daily, then moving onto bags filled with beans, then gravel, and so on. I feel this might be too much to start with, given that I've never been very physical. I'm interested in getting there, but feel this might be too intense for me to start off with. I also have read before that one of the advantages in martial arts is an ability to move the body very quickly, which I can still do, given how skinny I am, but worry that something like Iron Body could actually cause me to lose that advantage. I do think choosing the right martial art for both my body and mind is important, but it is still important to me to have some decent (relative to most people) self defense skills within a few years. Was hoping to get some advice here about where a good place to start might be, and which form of Kung Fu might make the most sense for me. Any thoughts are appreciated.