Im here for help on a matter in that is probably tedious to most that use this site. Here goes, apologies for length and consequent boredom - I am a 21 male, three years ago I was very badly beaten up after exiting a nightclub (objectively not my fault and not at my instigation). Since then when going out my mood has tended to flip between low-confidence and nervousness to a sense of ‘f· ck anyone else’ -im not going to be intimidated. On reflection I find the latter lousy and embarrassing and the former frankly a bit stupid. In addition and unconnected I have suffered ill health. In order to help address these problems I have decided to take up a Martial Art in order to make myself fitter, to give myself more confidence, and I hope a practical ability to defend myself in an appropriate situation. On investigation I have found myself increasingly confused as to which MA is best suited for self-defence as such I look at myself and what is available. The options in my local area appear to be a sort of ‘mixed-martial arts’ school (www.precisionmartialarts.co.uk) ; Wado-Ryu Karate (www.su-ha-ri-wadoryukarate.co.uk); Taekwon-do (www.hedtkd.com) - I think this school practices the ITF style; or Shotokan Karate (www.hsk.co.uk). First off this idea of mixed martial arts albeit from a respected kickboxing champion (who looks hard) does not seem the most genuine discipline, more of a sport. From what I have ignorantly or otherwise garnished from various sources karate broadly speaking fascinates me however most of what I have read tends to take the pejorative against japanese karate. So then ITF taekwon-do perhaps – I felt maybe being sporty and 6’2, I would be more suited to a discipline in which I could learn to kick from distance and use strength but then I read much about how karate was probably better ‘realistically’ at close quarters and that tkd was also more suited to competition (seems odd given its origins?). The only conclusion I could come to, was that it didn’t matter which discipline I chose as long as I stuck at it, tried hard and was taught by a good expert. Therefore I think I should do wado-ryu as the instructor is a 6th Dan (sounds like a huge deal), however there is a claim on the website that wado-ryu is the most effective style of karate and as advertised at the leisure centre seems more aimed at kids. However to be honest overall I’m pretty stuck - im trawling through subject matter that is all alien to me trying to make a reasoned evaluation?!. So in my superficial opinion Wado-Ryu sounds great in many aspects – the focus on form, using the opponents strength against him/her, a nice combination of hard and soft but to me the idea of grappling appears somewhat unappealing if not downright dangerous particularly if the opponent might has a bottle or a knife. Shotokan seems more popular with various reasons cited but is this splitting hairs? Should I try to find an Okinawan karate school? Or would taekwon-do play to natural strengths and give me a discipline in which I could more appealingly kick an opponent from distance, also the sessions are a half hour longer and it seems people progress slightly quicker – on the other hand although very capable of aggression I think I would prefer to smoothly extricate myself from a situation rather than utilise brute strength and power. I would appreciate any advise on any of the above. Perhaps someone might tell me where they would begin their MA education if they were starting from scratch and wishing to give themselves a good foundation. Also in the future I would like to be practicing a discipline in which protection against weapons (and I therefore I suppose use of, to enable understanding) could become significant (incl modern slashing blades), any recommendations as to what art might be best suited to me, also if anyone is prepared to cast an expert eye over or has any experince with any of the particular schools or instructors mentioned above that would be hugely appreciated. Yes I want to have fun, socialise, stay fit and healthy; yes I am also determined to work hard over time (years not months); and yes I want to do it all with the greatest integrity; however that said I would like to choose a discipline from the start that I could most effectively use to defend myself (I’m working on running too, or protect another in a street fight, mugging situation; and yes I would like a MA that would start yielding such an ability as quickly as possible. If you’ve read this far thank you, any help and id be much obliged. Regards.