Late bloomer

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by NewbieJeff, Nov 20, 2018.

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  1. NewbieJeff

    NewbieJeff White Belt

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    Hello, my name is Jeff and I’m looking to start a martial arts class. I’m starting late in life i suppose, as I’m in my lower 40s, 6’3”, and weigh just over 300. I work in grocery retail where the work is demanding. I have arthritis in my knees that causes some Inflammation and a bone spur that causes some discomfort from time to time. For these reasons I’m not really looking to do a lot of jumping air kicks or much that will be high impact on my knees. I have no issue standing for hours or twisting. It’s only an issue when I do a lot of kneeling or sitting on my knees to stock.
    I want to learn something that would ultimately help me get into shape and at the same time sharpens my mind/focus. I know what is portrayed in movies is BS for the most part, only for the benefit of what looks good on camera, but I’d love something that I could incorporate some meditation into as well. I’m not interested in being the karate kid and pick fights with ice sheets or boards, or even kick banana trees in half as I’ve seen on some videos. I just want to learn something where I could defend myself with a weapon or with empty hands. I’ve looked at JDK, a Vietnamese art, a Filipino art, wing Chung, and a couple of others. Does anyone have any advice on the subject?
     
  2. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    Given your mobility, I'd suggest something like Judo, Aikido, or Brazilian Ju Jitsu. Judo and BJJ, in my experience, gives you more "exercise" that Aikido but that can be dependent on the Aikido school and teacher.

    BJJ grew out of Judo and so there are some similarities between the two. Both have ground grappling and takedowns/throws. Most Judo clubs tend to focus more on the throws than BJJ while most BJJ tend to focus more on the ground grappling. ...in very broad generalizations.

    I'd really really suggest you dig very deeply into the laws regarding self defense in your area before you start training any sort of weapons with the goal of self defense. Andrew Branca's "The Law of Self Defense" and Massad Ayoob's "Deadly Force - Understanding your right to self defense" are a good start.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  3. NewbieJeff

    NewbieJeff White Belt

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    Thanks, I’ll look into the laws for sure. I have no intention of looking for a fight, I just know with the increasing chance of work place violence, I would like to know how to use a staff or bow if it was necessary. I also tried a bbj class for free once and they threw me in to try Muay Thai and that has caused me issues since then. I can increase intensity as I drop the weight as has been in the past. I found a school that does several things nearby. I’m not sure what to look for as far as credentials. I’ll post it soon.
     
  4. NewbieJeff

    NewbieJeff White Belt

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  5. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    I assume here that you mean long sticks used for beating people. "Bo" is the usual way the Japanese/Okinawan staff is rendered / romanized. Staffs are clubs and clubs are considered deadly force weapons under most U.S. law.

    And justifiable deadly force is way more complex than merely "not looking for a fight."

    100% serious, please do some very serious study of self defense law before carrying a weapon. Try joining Armed Citizen's Legal Defense Network. It's $120 (ims) and they send you about $500 worth of DVD's and one of Ayoob's books, plus providing legal services if you ever do have to engage in legally justified deadly force for self defense (if it's not legally justified, you're on your own).

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  6. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    Hard to say anything about quality or applicability based on the web site. Looks like there's a lot going on. I usually advise people to simplify. Start off with one art first and get a strong base in that before trying to branch out to a ton of other stuff is what I typically recommend.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
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  7. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    First off, welcome to MT. You'll find a lot of opinionated people here. We've got more opinions than sense. But we sound really sincere! :D

    Seriously, welcome. There are a lot of folks with varying backgrounds who will be happy to help however they can.

    As for choosing the art, know first that the school matters more than the style. You want a school that "feels right" for you - fits the level of formality, intensity, etc. that suits you. But the style does matter some. I second Kirk's suggestion of looking at something that specializes in (or at least leans toward) standing grappling. But then, that's my personal preference, so I might be a teeny bit biased. They aren't terribly hard on the knees most of the time (mine are crap, too), though the early stages of learning the falls may be hard given your size.

    It doesn't sound like actual defensive fighting effectiveness is a high priority for you, so I'd tend toward the Aikido route. They tend to do more rolling than falling early on (as opposed to Judo and most other standing grappling).

    Of course, if standing grappling arts don't tickle your fancy, they're not the right answer for you. Filipino martial arts usually have some grappling and striking, but focus on weapons, so very different, but still probably fairly easy on the knees. Something like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is probably not a good fit with the knee problems - lots of time spent working from, too, and off of the knees.Striking arts would also be easy on the knees, but probably don't provide the same mobility gains that a grappling art do (though certainly they'll provide some).
     
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  8. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    As Kirk says, not much we can tell just from that site. If I were checking it out for a friend, I'd need to see some classes to even have an idea. The long list of (allegedly) complete systems taught is incredible (as in, no credibility), but that's a common marketing thing used sometimes by very good schools, and sometimes by very bad ones. Go watch a couple of classes, and see if they appear competent. Look particularly at the middle ranks of students. Are they significantly better than the beginners? Are the more advanced ranks significantly better than them? You should be able to tell the difference between beginners and mid-rank students. If you don't have any martial arts experience, then you should have trouble spotting the differences between middle ranks and upper ranks, except when they are doing the same exercise side-by-side, or sparring/grappling against each other (and in that latter you still might not spot it). If you know someone with significant experience, you might ask them to visit with you.
     
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  9. NewbieJeff

    NewbieJeff White Belt

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    Ok cool. I’m not suggesting that I’ll be carrying any type of weapon. I’m just saying in case someone comes into my business to rob or kill someone and I have access to a broom or something, then and only then would I use a weapon. I don’t want anyone to get hurt but I also want to protect myself and my friends.
     
  10. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    You could still end up arrested for that, depending on how much damage you do, and how viable the threat would be (sometimes in the mind of a 'reasonable person' depending on your jurisdiction), which is tough to assess in the heat of the moment. A cctv can work for or against you, since theres no room for exaggeration or doubt.

    Im a fan of the adage "better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6". But i recommend to people in general understand the SD laws in your area
     
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  11. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    Like others said, you cant tell a lot from a website. My opinion on them would be dependent whether the school teaches the martial arts together, or as separate curricula. If they taught it as one overall course, not differentiated by class...i wouldnt go. But thats just me, and based on my experiences. Everyones different, and some people like those types of classes. I prefer ot separate now, and feel you can get enough from one martial art you dont need to be practicing 5 at once for striking, and another 3 for grappling.
     
  12. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Boxing.

    It is simple and effective. Has high cardio without jumping. And a good school will smash that weight off. Which could just fix the knees.

    There are avenues for oldies to compete. And you need to be rigorously disciplined to be good at it. Which will start touching all the bases that meditation hits.

     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
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  13. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master Black Belt

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    As others have said, it will depend a lot on the individual school and the approach they take. But if you're 300 lbs, have bad knees, and are mostly looking to get active and maybe protect yourself at work..... I'd suggest looking at BJJ or maybe boxing. Kicking-based arts, while they can be great for fitness, might be hard on your knees. It sounds like you experienced that with the Muay Thai. Different BJJ schools take different approaches, but if you can find a school that focuses on developing good technique and not throwing you into full-on sparring right away, I think that would help you learn without messing your knees up.

    FWIW, with bad knees, you might want to look at your local pool for water fitness classes to help you get in shape. They're very low-impact. And I'd bet good money that if you built up your muscles and lost a little weight, your knees would bother you less too.
     
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  14. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    Yup, boxings exactly what i was thinking. Just find something else to do when they do running or jump rope.
     
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  15. NewbieJeff

    NewbieJeff White Belt

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    I rather enjoy hearing people’s opinions as it’s a great tool to learn more about a topic. My first and foremost reason to learn any art is to better myself, both mentally and physically. That’s why I’d rather have a school that involves some form of meditation since I work in customer service and it can be very stressful at times. The self defense is a bonus for that random moment that someone decides to try to rob myself or my family. I’m just interested in something to help me better my flexibility and strengthen my body.
     
  16. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    If that’s important to you, seek it out. For many of us the movement and focus of training is a type of meditation.
     
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  17. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    Pretty much any skill, but particularly physical skills, which require intense focus are often said to be very meditative and calming. Many shooters, including myself, have noted that there are times when target shooting that it has a meditative feel and the rest of the world, worries, concerns, etc., all seem to be blotted out by the focus of the skill.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
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  18. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I find the art itself meditative. My school has monthly meditation class. I go every now and then, but honestly I think I’m a bit too squirrelly for it. It’s pretty hard sitting still and trying to “empty my mind” for 25 minutes or whatever that portion is.

    The practice of the art itself is meditative to me. When I’m doing a kata/form, that’s all I’m thinking about. And it’s an “in the moment” thing; if I think a move ahead or behind, I mess it up. I think about what I’m spat that exact moment. Then there’s sparring. I don’t have time to think about my idiot coworkers when someone’s going to kick me in the head. My nagging wife and whining kids don’t exist when I’m about to get punched. The noise the car’s making doesn’t enter my mind when I’m there.

    The outside world ceases to exist for that hour and a half I’m on the floor. No other form of exercise has done that for me. If I’m on a treadmill or elliptical or anything like that, all I can think about is the stupid things that stress me out. You’d think lifting weights would help clear my mind for that time period. Nope.

    I’ve been out of the dojo for going on 2 months now, nursing a stupid and nagging back injury. I’m not the same guy. I don’t have that getaway. After a karate class, the world isn’t the same annoying place it was before I walked in. Clearing my mind for that short period 2-3 times a week puts things into perspective. Sitting and meditating has its advantages, but it’s like 10% as effective for me as actually being on the floor and doing my thing.

    If you’re looking for the meditative aspect of it all, I don’t think there’s much genuine difference between the various arts. I don’t think boxing would be much different than karate for me. Wrestling was pretty much the same in this regard when I was doing that.

    As far as choosing which art and where to go, it’s simple: pick a school, not an art. Make a list of everything available to you locally. Cross of the ones you can’t aftord and the ones who’s schedule conflicts with yours. Visit the rest. Watch what they do and try to make an informed decision on if this is something you can physically do due to your health concerns. Watch the teacher teach and ask yourself if this is who you want teaching you. Watch the students train and engage with each other. Ask yourself if this is who you want to train alongside.

    If you see what’s out there and what’s going on under their roof, you’ll have a pretty good idea of where fits you best. Try a few classes before signing a contract. Don’t jump at the first place you see, even if you think it’s a great fit. Visit as many places as reasonably possible and make a truly informed decision.
     
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  19. TMA17

    TMA17 Black Belt

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    Welcome! I agree with PB. I'd get a heavy bag and some boxing gear and start with boxing. It's simple, gives you cardio which will help you lose weight and a great stress relief. It's good for self defense purposes too.
     
  20. NewbieJeff

    NewbieJeff White Belt

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    I actually loved going to a gym, I let out all the stress from the day. I would get in the zone with nothing but my music going. I suppose the art itself would work in the same sense. Being able to do something with an empty mind is an amazing feeling. I’ve reached out to two schools about trying a free session that they offer and maybe a couple classes before committing.
     

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