Never practiced a martial art before

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by Brooklynite, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. Brooklynite

    Brooklynite White Belt

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    My whole life I wanted to study and train in a martial art but never got around to it or was unable to, due to personal reasons. It wasn't until I came very close to getting my butt beat at a bar last week where I realized I need to learn how to defend myself, especially if it saves my life one day. So, I started looking around via Google for any martial arts school(minus kickboxing and boxing), that would conform with my work schedule and is something that will be effective in a street fight.

    The first place I checked out is a BJJ place . I was interested, but then realized BJJ is useless if I am fighting 1 guy on the ground and his 3 friends are kicking me in my face while I'm down there.


    The second place that conforms to my work schedule is a Wing Chun school (Moy Yat lineage). However, after watching some youtube videos, nearly every Wing Chun practioner got their butts kicked by almost all other martial arts. I want something that is effective in a street fight, and not meant to be effective against only another Wing Chun practioner.


    The last place is a Shotokan Karate dojo whose lead instructor is an 8th dan black belt. This is pretty much the only other school in my area that I would be able to make in enough time after coming home from work.

    Out of these three choices; what would you guys say is the most well rounded regarding a street fight? Basically, I would like to be able to give myself a fighting chance in a fight without immeditaly getting my *** kicked.
    My Stats:

    • 25 Year old
    • 5'10
    • 168 lbs
    • 14%-15% body fat
    • Never worked out more than 6 months in my whole life

     
  2. mook jong man

    mook jong man Senior Master

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    I can tell you one thing , don't judge the efficacy of a martial art by watching You tube , the people seen on videos are often not the best exponents of the system.
    I don't know where you got this notion that Wing Chun is only effective against another Wing Chun practitioner , it's effective against anyone with two arms , two legs and a centerline.
    But the Wing Chun world is very diverse with many lineages and sadly not all Wing Chun is created equal.
    In fact some of the stuff being passed off as Wing Chun is quite shambolic.

    I would not dismiss Bjj either , you may not have a choice as to whether you end up on the ground or not.
    Being able to survive on the ground until such time as you can quickly regain your feet is a valuable skill to have.
     
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  3. Brian King

    Brian King Master of Arts

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    Which instructor and students did you have the most positive connection with? Which school seems like the one that you might stick to for longer than "six months". Is there a cultural aspect of any of the arts that interests you?

    Try a couple of classes and see which art fits you- physically, spiritually, and mentally. People are different which s why there are so many different arts. Some people gravitate towards striking at long ranges, others like the grapple. Find the art that speaks to you, that fits you. Find the instructor that you can respect and learn from. Find the fellow students that you will enjoy being around and learning with.

    Regards
    Brian King
     
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  4. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    Everyone needs some BJJ. Trust me on this one.

    Between the two I personally like WC for self-defense but that's a statement about me and how I fight, not the arts. Both are good if taught well. I'd agree about not judging by YouTube. Can you find a boxing gym?

    Start with BJJ. You may find they slip in a lot more general self-defense than you are expecting.
     
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  5. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    Of the three listed, my vote is for Wing Chun, as it is close contact but on your feet. BJJ would be my second choice. But either way it will take years before you would be proficient enough, in either, to feel comfortable using your skills in a real confrontation. In fact in those early years you may even have a false sense of your ability. Best means of self defence is not to be in the situation. There are many SD programmes that teach awareness.

    If you are committed to learn self defence and you want to achieve that ability in a reasonable time frame see if anyone nearby teaches Krav Maga. :asian:
     
  6. SacredCoconut

    SacredCoconut Orange Belt

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    Go take a look at the school and ask the instructor what they think. Its more important that the school/instructor is teaches good MA for your goal.
     
  7. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    You don't need a martial art.

    First, you need to learn to de-escalate and stay out of what are called Monkey Dances. That'll do more to keep your *** from being beat than most martial arts. I'd encourage you to read Rory Miller's books, Meditations on Violence and Facing Violence as a starting point there. There are others, but Rory's done a really good job of breaking some things down and identifying what's going on. You can also check out Marc MacYoung's page, No Nonsense Self Defense.

    Then, by all means, look into martial arts. I think they're lots of fun. Plenty of good advice above and elsewhere about choosing a school. In the end, it amounts to find what you like and want to stick with, because you can make anything work -- but only if you put the time into it. And who wants to put time into something where you're not having fun?
     
  8. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    Bang on the head of the nail :thumbsup:.

    Something else that bears mentioning is that almost any art will teach you to punch, kick, block and evade and how to do those well in the style of the school. It really, truly, does not matter which style it is for those basics, which are the things you will most likely use if you have to fight for real. For whilst studying an art can give you the self confidence to walk and move like someone who is neither a victim nor an aggressor, a talent not to be underestimated, what determines if you are a 'fighter' or not is you.

    If you are not (and most people aren't) then no amount of physical training and teaching will turn you into one. Luckily, most people out and about are not fighters either, so having the knowledge of how to punch, kick, block and evade will still be advantageous.

    More advantageous still is the training and the experience to be able to 'read a room' and know when it is time to leave before the trouble starts. A good martial arts school will touch on these matters but the real training ground is being out there in it and keeping your eyes and ears open, learning the common patterns for when violence is immanent to the point when you get a sense that somewhere is the place not to be at that particular time.
     
  9. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Any of those arts you listed could be really good for self-defense or really bad, depending on who is teaching them and how they teach.

    To begin with, try to find a school where you like the atmosphere and enjoy the training. You could be studying at the best self-defense school in the world, but if you don't enjoy the training you won't show up and do the work consistently and you won't get the benefits.

    As others have noted, 95% of self-defense occurs before a fight ever starts. I'll second the recommendation for Rory Miller's books. Peyton Quinn has some useful things to say as well, if you're collecting those sorts of books.
     
  10. WC_lun

    WC_lun Senior Master

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    Do not judge a style from Youtube. Remember that the posters have an agenda behind thier post.

    BJJ can also help you keep your feet in a situation, rather than having to go to the ground to be effective. Good BJJ is not taught to be performed from just the ground. I personally train in WC, anf it has been very effective for self defense for me. Shotokan I do not have a lot of experience with, but I have seen martial artist fromthis system that had a good foundation for self defense.

    No matter the system, there will be good and bad teachers. I have seen Wing Chun teachers that have no bussiness teaching a person anything about martial arts. Now go back to above and see how I know it to be a very effective self defense system because of experience. The difference is I had a good teacher who knew the material and how to pass it on properly. This is the key to learning good self defense...that and common sense.
     
  11. Brooklynite

    Brooklynite White Belt

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    This is good sound advice. I will check out the teacher/students at the Wing Chun and Karate schools before I decide what to do, and see which art speaks to me.

    I am actually pretty darn good at avoiding near violent situations. I come from the inner city and have faced many situations that may have turned violent but I was able to de-escalate without fault. This actually brings up my point and the main reason I finally want to pick an art.

    I was out a few days ago, at a bar for my friends birthday. There was about 4 of us there and the bar was pretty packed. Anyway, some 46 year old guy, piss drunk, was insisting I took his seat. I told him I didn't and he kept insisting, so I said, "fine you can have my seat it's not a big deal". He gladly took it but the remainder of the night he was hovering around me, sort of messing with me. Saying stupid stuff, trying to piss me off. Again, I calmed him down. This would have been fine if he was sober, but alcohol and god knows what drugs, adds a whole new twist into the situation. I was not going to leave the birthday party because of them man. I was not going to empower him and make him ruin my night. I really felt like I was being bullied and I was not going to let this guy bully me. I was bullied my whole entire childhood and I refuse to let it continue into my adulthood. Now, this is a farcry from the guy wanting to pound my face in but I still rather know how to block, throw a punch, ect since I never got into a fight my whole life. Even if the art just teaches me how to make a proper fist, I'll feel like it was worth it. I don't want to be clueless, especially if I learn something that may potentially save my life.

    This is good advice, and I will look for that in a teacher/school when I visit them this week.


    I am not expecting to become some human weapon from learning a martial art. I want to better myself both mentally and physically (I don't need discipline since my parents gave me plenty of beatings as a kid). I want to be able to not have to worry if I am in a situation where I can't get out. I am also considering becoming a police officer so whatever tactics I learn may end up being very helpful in that career field.

    Thanks for all the feedback!!!
     
  12. grumpywolfman

    grumpywolfman Black Belt

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    Hello Brooklynite,

    For self defense if you are unable to diffuse or escape a situation from having to fight, then it's possible that you are either cornered or pinned on the ground. Based on those two scenarios that would prevent you from escaping, and assuming that each school you went to had equally competent instructors, then I would recommend Wing Chun as your primary art and also attend the BJJ school for ground skills (weekend classes?). I understand what you are saying about multiple attackers; however you don't have to stay on the ground - your goal may simply be to get back on your feet and run.


    ~ Peace, and may the force be with you ... always :jediduel:
     
  13. grumpywolfman

    grumpywolfman Black Belt

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    Brooklynite,

    As you begin your training, remember that success begins in the mind as a vision of a possible outcome; like a sculpture that waits to be shaped from a block of stone, if only the artist will invest the time to reveal it.
     
  14. J W

    J W Green Belt

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    As has already been said, don't base your opinion on martial arts (or anything, for that matter) on YouTube videos. All those "this martial art vs. that martial art" videos are typically posted by some meathead who is trying to prove that his martial art / school / system / etc is better than everything else. Most of those videos showing Wing Chun guys getting whipped feature guys who don't know much about Wing Chun.

    I study Moy Yat Wing Chun, so of course I would recommend checking it out. It is a simple, direct and effecient art. Go in and take an intro class (or whatever they offer), and you will be able to form a much better opinion of Wing Chun based on some actual experience and interaction with experienced WC folks, rather than on internet videos.
     
  15. Brooklynite

    Brooklynite White Belt

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    ***UPDATE***

    So, I went to this karate school yesterday, just to see a class and check it out. The class was about an hour long and I liked the teacher, but I have some reservations about it.

    I was watching a class with all brown belts and I was not really impressed. One guy, it seemed, had no idea what he was doing, kicking super slow, not listening, it made me wonder just how he got that brown belt and why.

    After class, the teacher wanted to sign me up right away. He told me I can do month to month or get a 6 month/1 year plan. If I paid once a month its $140 to go 2 times a week and $160 to go 3 times a week. That really seems a bit high. I told him I wanted to check out other schools before I made my decision and he seemed so insulted. He asked which schools and after I told him the schools he repeated, "You'll be back" like 10 times. Then he said how most teachers don't know how to teach and how he was the best teacher. This was a BIG turnoff to me. I don't like pushy salesman, they are my antithesis. The only real upside to this place was I got there in 10 minutes from my house which is nice.

    Later in the week, I am going to check out a MMA/Martial arts gym . They are rather expensive but with the price you pay you get full access to a gym with free weights and smith machines along with 3 classes (1.5 hours a class) of your choice a week; they offer, MMA Fighting, Muay Thai, Boxing, Karate, Wrestling. For them it's $200 a month if I sign up for a year.

    My biggest fear is that I get injured like 4 months into the training and then I'm out a big chunk of change, so I really want something that is month to month. This is not making my life any easier because there are so many, "McDojos" out there and I dont want to invest my money in something that is taught by a hack and/or is bogus.

    FWIW, I will be checking out a Kyokukshin karate place later this week. It's about a 15 minute highway drive from my house, but their website shows that its $99 a month with no contract. I'm not sure how Kyokukshin karate differes from Shotokan karate anyway. Anyway, I'm going crazy here trying to figure out what to do. In Brooklyn alone there are 5.5 million people, you would think their would be more/better schools to choose from.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
  16. Instructor

    Instructor Master Black Belt

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    It's okay, you've tried one place and it didn't suit you. That's why you visit them all before deciding. My instructor and I have been lifelong friends. He made me feel right at home and has worked hard to provide me training for many years.

    You will find the right place, just keep looking.
     
  17. J W

    J W Green Belt

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    It sounds like you have a good number of options available to you, so I would say to take your time, visit every school that interests you, and take all the intro classes that you can. No need to rush and sign up anywhere, you can take as long as you want to shop around and decide what best suits you. Spend some time at each school, and you should get an idea of which ones are actually worthwhile. Sounds like your instincts are already pretty good; based on your description, I would be wary of that karate school as well. A good instructor shouldn't need to be a pushy salesman, and should understand your desire to check out other schools.

    As far as the fear of getting hurt and losing out on your investment; ask them what would happen in such a scenario. Would they put the membership on hold until you recovered? Also think about other unforseen events that could pull you away for a time, or even the possibility that you might just lose interest altogether. If the school requires you to sign a contract, make sure you understand all the conditions of that contract, and how it can (or can't) be suspended or even terminated if need be.

    Good luck in your search!
     
  18. Brooklynite

    Brooklynite White Belt

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    Thanks!

    That is a good question to ask. I will include that in my barrage of questions from here on out. I mean the way the guy taught last night seemed effective. He seemed focused on how to fight in the street. He is the only one who teaches the classes as well, but that sales pitch really turned me off. And the incompetant brown belts threw me off too. Also, is $140/$160 a month reasonable for karate? I'm not sure where the price points falls for this sort of thing.
     
  19. Instructor

    Instructor Master Black Belt

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    Price is often relative to your region and demand. For example the same place in my area would likely be about $90 a month. Some arts seem to fetch a higher price MMA and BJJ these days seem to be the most expensive.

    Remember though that in the case of martial arts, price is no indicator of quality. I found a group of Karate people practicing under a teacher in a local community center once that were amazing and they guy wasn't even charging them anything.

    Like I said just keep looking around. Also it pays to speak with local YMCA's, churches, community centers, and places like that. Every once in awhile you find some really good teachers who are willing to help you for next to nothing.
     
  20. Brooklynite

    Brooklynite White Belt

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    Never thought of that, awesome advice. Thanks!123
     

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