Joining a martial arts class. Which one should I join?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by AlfonsoGrey37, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. AlfonsoGrey37

    AlfonsoGrey37 White Belt

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    Since I’ve met her and we’ve been together, it’s really turned my life around. It all started when I begrudgingly joined a meet Latin tours trip with my brother, and she just walked up to me. We started talking and immediately clicked. Since then, I’ve quit drinking, started caring more about my health, and have rebuilt my relationship with my stepdad. One thing that my gf and the experience has taught me is to stop being afraid of trying something now, and to initiate change when it’s needed.


    Now I’m thinking of enrolling in a martial arts class, but I’m unsure on which one to try. I’m a little overweight and I’ve never trained for anything physical in my whole life. Can anyone who works as a professional trainer give me some advice on which one is most suitable for someone like me?
     
  2. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    I'm not a professional trainer, but I can say this:

    Any of them. Whichever you think you'll enjoy and will keep going to. You'll get fitter as you go if you don't push too hard and burn yourself out.

    Alternatively - you can always use being a bit fat and unfit as an excuse why you can't do a certain art and spend the rest of your life excusing and procrastinating. This is by far the most popular option.
     
  3. AlfonsoGrey37

    AlfonsoGrey37 White Belt

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    I don't know if your last statement was meant as a joke or not but your first suggestion actually sounds like a good idea. I'll try browsing through lists of available martial art classes in my area and see which one ignites my interest the most. Thanks!
     
  4. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    It's only half a joke.

    Based on my own experience and the experience of those I've spoken to, it truly is the most popular choice. The amount of people who have been "going to try it next week" for the past 5+ years is astounding.

    But yes, see what's available. See what fits around the bits of your schedule you can't / won't move. See what's affordable. See which teacher and group you get along with.

    If you don't have a target art just keep an open mind and always remember that finding you don't like something and moving to something else is still loads better than not doing anything.
     
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  5. AlfonsoGrey37

    AlfonsoGrey37 White Belt

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    Happily noted! I'm motivated now more than ever. That keeping an open mind sure sounds like fun. I'll make sure to take baby steps in this before I start to get burned out and lazy, lol. Thanks, mate!
     
  6. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    If you want to look for inspiration, look at people like Sammo Hung, or a lot of the heavyweight boxers, MMA fighters, or wrestlers (real wrestling, not WWE...although look at WWE because they are real athletes). In fact, a lot of people go to martial arts class because it's a fun way to exercise, and not necessarily for the fighting itself.

    Now, as to which martial art to choose. I have a very complex set of criteria you should consider:
    1. Is it affordable?
    2. Is it accessible? (i.e. close enough and with the right hours you can regularly show up)
    3. Do you like the instructor?
    That's...basically it. If the instructor sounds like he knows what he's doing and you like his/her teaching style, and you can regularly attend class and afford it, then that's the school for you!
     
  7. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    What is available to you?
    What are your goals for training?
    Do you like the instructor?

    Get these questions answered and you're on your way. Enjoy the journey.
     
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  8. Balrog

    Balrog Master of Arts

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    This. Check the schools around you. See which ones will let you take some free lessons and find a school with an instructor you like at a price rate you can afford.

    Good luck in your training!
     
  9. JR 137

    JR 137 Grandmaster

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    Like everyone else has said...

    Make a list of everything in the area. Cross off the ones you can’t afford and the ones that conflict with your schedule. Visit the rest. Who’s teaching, how it’s being taught, and who you’ll be training alongside are the most important things. There are good and horrible schools in every style/art.

    Most places offer a free introduction class or a handful of introductory lessons for a very low price. Take advantage of that. And if they’re positive people (ie not the type that dismisses EVERYTHING), bring along your brother and the woman of your dreams that you met on the cruise :) There’s power in numbers.
     
  10. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    Like everyone else has said...but a better way of saying it! We just gave him a list of criteria, you told him how to make that list and systematically find out what fits.

    One thing I'd like to say is that when I was looking for a school, I wanted to do either Wing Chun or Baguazhang after doing my research. None of that was in my area, so I decided to look at local martial arts schools. I looked at MMA gyms and then I looked at a Taekwondo school. I ended up going to this school and started learning TKD and Hapkido. What I've found with the Hapkido is that...
    • While completely different from Wing Chun, it operates in the same area (trapping range) and using similar principles (speed and technique is more important than power).
    • Footwork is just as important to Hapkido as it is to Bagua, and a lot of what I saw in Bagua that I wanted to learn is applied in Hapkido
    So while Hapkido wasn't even on my radar, it ended up fitting what I wanted to learn.
     
  11. JR 137

    JR 137 Grandmaster

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    I’m in my 2nd stint in karate after a 15 year hiatus. I was looking at starting over about 3.5 years ago, and basically did what I advised. While I knew a few places to truly avoid, I didn’t really know what was around my area because I’d been away for about 10 years.

    I visited a lot of places and ended up where I am now because by watching a few classes and talking to the CI and an assistant CI, it just felt like home to me. Funny thing is I put off going there because I thought it was one of my bottom choices on paper. I had one or two other places left to visit and thought I made up my mind. While it’s close to home and was the cheapest, I thought I wanted a different art this time around and several things turned me off - it was very small, and the website and their Facebook page gave me the impression it was mainly kids, point fighting, and them having get togethers. The pictures they posted were basically special events and not day to day stuff. When I finally dragged myself there, an assistant instructor was opening up. I had a great conversation with him for about 15 minutes before class started. I watched class and was quite impressed by how he ran it. So I went back to meet the CI and watch him teach. Great guy, great teacher, and great people training hard. I in the back of my mind was thinking maybe they were putting on a show to get me to sign up. Only there was no contract and the CI suggested I take a few classes for free to see if it was a good fit. I showed up 3 days later, paid for the month, and I’m still there 3.5 years later. I don’t see myself leaving any time soon.

    Edit: One of my biggest things is not going by websites. If I did that, I wouldn’t have stepped foot in any dojo I’ve trained at.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  12. Saheim

    Saheim Green Belt

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    First of all - CONGRATULATIONS on finding what sounds like one heck of a girl! Glad she had such a positive impact on your life, she sounds like one of the good ones, I'm happy for you!

    As for the school -

    Biggest thing is "WHY?" To get fit? To increase your chances of prevailing in a physically violent confrontation? To find that zen peace ohhhmmm deal? To compete and put some trophies on the wall? That is the big factor.

    I'm not you, but my reason was simple - I want to be effective and efficient at breaking humans who seek to harm me. If your goal is similar, these are the two things I look for:

    (1) How far removed is the teacher from someone who has used these techniques in real fights? Was he a cop, bouncer, drunken brawler? Was his teacher? Or was his teacher's teacher's teacher?

    (2) Do they "pressure test" their tactics? I could show you a "block to lock" that works great when I punch slow and leave my arm out for you have you way with BUT, now that you have it down, lets suit up and I'm really gonna try to knock yer skull off, you really get ahold of my arm and show me some floor. That's pressure testing, that tells ya which tools to keep in the box.

    On a side note - you can never go wrong with Muay Thai (if the instructor has a pro record). Ya build cardio, ya develop powerful strikes, ya get better at taking punishment :)
     
  13. JR 137

    JR 137 Grandmaster

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    Good points. If someone really wants to get in shape and have some valuable skills, I’d add the grappling arts to the mix. Wrestling, Judo, BJJ et al are very physically demanding, and there’s obviously pressure testing during randori/rolling. Wrestling was easily the most physically demanding thing I’ve ever done, aside from my karate black belt test.
     
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  14. Saheim

    Saheim Green Belt

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    I completely agree! I was in a Gracie Jiu Jitsu school, for a short period of time and it blew my mind that I spend hours in the weight gym but end up sore after class. Funny thing is - the muscles that get sore ate ones that I didn't know existed. GJJ will work muscles that don't seem to get used for anything else.
     
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  15. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    I'm pretty sure in hapkido they invented new muscles to make sore.
     
  16. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    Like others have said, see what's available near your home and workplace. If you have a hard time deciding between a few different ones (or need help understanding what's being offered), feel free to post some website links on here and we can look at them and maybe give some advice.
     
  17. now disabled

    now disabled Master Black Belt

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    As everyone else has said and don't sign any contracts until you are sure that it is for you and you are going to keep going
     
  18. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    Try everything!

    The most important thing is to not give up. You'll hit a point where you're sucking wind and pain and you'll be wondering why you're doing this. It is absolutely imperative that you push through that feeling. No transformation is easy, and most hurt.

    If you've never trained anything physical, you may have a low physical IQ, and that's OK. It comes with time, just keep at it. If this is your first dip in the martial arts pool, then maybe a weapon art might be good way to start. By necessity, they start off slower and easier so people don't die and stuff. A sword or staff is a great big ruler to help you understand angles, range and timing. You'll have time to teach your body how to move. Look for iaido, kenjutsu, HEMA, or Filipino martial arts for the skinny on weapons.

    Alternatively, you could jump in with both feet, embrace the suck and do boxing, muay thai, BJJ, judo or whatever. Any of those will make you one tough dude. MMA training will likewise transform you.

    Best of luck in your search. You can do this!123
     

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