New to Martial Arts

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by Chrisinmd, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. Chrisinmd

    Chrisinmd White Belt

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    Hi! my name is Chris and I decided to do martial arts but I need help figuring out which one I should do. Please tell me which you do and suggest one I should do, thanks!

    I am 41 years old, 5"11 and weight 185 ibs. I would say im in average shape. Workout at the gym about 3 times a week. Cardio workout on a elliptical machine. Could probably lose about 10 pounds though.

    The options for martial arts training in my area are Wing Chun Kung Fu, Boxing, Mu Thai, BJJ, Judo, Karate.

    I have never trained in any martial arts before.

    What I looking to get out martial arts training is to gain self confidence and learn some practical self defense skills.

    My initial thoughts looking at my options of martial arts styles is to go with boxing. Most likely the easiest and quickest to learn. I would think boxing is a good option for a street fight / bar fight scenario. Not that I get in those very often at all but you never know.

    My concerns with Asian martial arts Kung Fu, Karate, Mu Thai is that im thinking they take a very long time to get good and are very complicated to learn.

    Anyway that's my story. Thoughts?
     
  2. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Your size and weight makes and fitness makes no difference to anything. If you want to do boxing go for it. It's what you want to do that's the only factor.

    Also I always wonder why the whole it takes longer to learn is a factor....well even if it does take to longer (which I don't agree with anyway) so what? What's the rush? You got a deadline or something?

    Just choose and go train
     
  3. jobo

    jobo Senior Master

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    Yes well, boxing has a lot less thibgs in it to learn, but then it has a lot less when youve learnt it,

    Its impossible to make meanibgful comparisons between different ma, and it rather depends what standard " good" is !

    You SHOULD have useful skills for self defence well within 12months no matter what you do, that is your substantially better than you are now, if youd have reached a higher standard of self defence if youd done somethibg else isimpossible to know.
     
  4. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

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    I dunno. Sure boxing has less moves in it's syllabus than some other styles; basically 4 punches(and variations), with some situational movement and positioning.

    With that said I would say it's actually one of the more complex arts to learn properly. This is because even though it has less moves and positions, it is far more developed than most styles inso far as actually using these tools.

    A lot of schools that teach traditional Asian styles(although not exclusively these) neglect the whole 'how to use it' side of the equation almost entirely, relying on cooperative partners to practice their syllabus rather than live trials and testing.

    Rule of thumb; if there aren't any gloves , shinguards or headgear in the gym you are probably wasting your time if you want something functional.
     
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  5. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    I can't comment on boxing since I have never done it. But my observations are that there is more to it that a simple throwing of a punch or two. And you will find that true of any martial art worth learning inho.

    I am a Hapkidoist, so my preferred recommendation is towards grappling, but it may not be for you. Mua Thai has some boxing and also kicks. I have never studied it but it seems you can expect a lot of hits to your body. BJJ has a lot of good moves but I think it is to quick to go to the ground. Which Karate do you have in your area?
     
  6. jobo

    jobo Senior Master

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    Yes , but the context of the post was how good can yiu be at self defence in the short term, not how good at boxing matches can you be if you put a couple of decades into it.

    From a self defence point of view, being proficient at throwing a couple of punches is all your likely to need, unless the guy grabs you, in wwhich case a couple of throws and maybe a few kicks will come in handy. And boxing falls a bit short on those, but the better you are at boxing the less that matters, but that of course takes a lit more time to develop,

    But my pointt remains , 6 months into any ma, you should be in a position to robustly defend yourself against most people, even if yiyr unlikely to ever reach the regional finals
     
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  7. marques

    marques Master Black Belt

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    Muay Thai takes a while to be good at everything, but the basics will be trained every training, so you get able to apply some stuff quite quickly.

    In my opinion, the down side of MT for adults is the fitness demand. But it does not seem an issue for you.

    All other options may be ok. As always, instructors and training partners do matter and it you can only check on site. But you started well by checking the available options.
     
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  8. Hanzou

    Hanzou Senior Master

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    While I appreciate the fact that you're trying to learn something quickly, I think you shouldn't write off certain martial arts because they take "too long". Unless you're planning on wearing a costume and beat up criminals within the next 6 months, I think you would benefit more from a system you can grow old with and constantly learn things over the course of your life.

    Boxing is a wonderful system if you intend to augment what you already know. I personally wouldn't do boxing as a replacement for a long term MA because there's only so much you can do with boxing, and frankly over the long term Boxing can cause some serious injuries. After about a year or two of boxing training, you really don't need further training unless you plan to box professionally.

    Given your age and goals, I would recommend Bjj. It'll give you the self defense you want, it'll be easier on your body than Judo and Boxing, and you can do it for competition or for simply studying martial arts.
     
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  9. mrt2

    mrt2 Blue Belt

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    Hi! my name is Chris and I decided to do martial arts but I need help figuring out which one I should do. Please tell me which you do and suggest one I should do, thanks!

    I do ITF style Tae Kwon Do. My school is mostly traditional, but we do spar with headgear, shin and instep guards, and chest protectors, so there is some contact.

    I am 41 years old, 5"11 and weight 185 ibs. I would say im in average shape. Workout at the gym about 3 times a week. Cardio workout on a elliptical machine. Could probably lose about 10 pounds though.

    While you are not exactly young for MA, you have no physical limitations that would prevent you from starting a MA program. I was both older, and heavier than you when I started TKD earlier this year. That said, MA training will work your body much differently than just stepping on an elliptical machine 3 times a week, so be prepared for a little soreness initially.

    The options for martial arts training in my area are Wing Chun Kung Fu, Boxing, Mu Thai, BJJ, Judo, Karate.
    What I looking to get out martial arts training is to gain self confidence and learn some practical self defense skills.
    Any one of the styles you mentioned above should fit the bill. Boxing, Muy Thai, Judo and BJJ especially should be focused on martial sport more than martial arts, which if you are looking to mix it up against live competition more or less right away. Karate, Kung Fu, and other traditional martial arts will have at least part of the curriculum based on kata, or forms. This is where you need to know yourself. In the early colored belt testings, a lot of martial arts base advancement on knowledge or mastery of curriculum, especially forms, and not sparring or combat. Something like MMA, Boxing, Muy Thai, and BJJ especially are all about fighting against a resisting opponent, all the time.

    My initial thoughts looking at my options of martial arts styles is to go with boxing. Most likely the easiest and quickest to learn. I would think boxing is a good option for a street fight / bar fight scenario. Not that I get in those very often at all but you never know.

    I have a lot of respect for boxers, but I wouldn't assume boxing is easy to learn and especially not easy to practice. As a 41 year old, you might ask yourself how much you want to get hit, both to the body and to the head. As to your idea about good options in a bar fight or street fight, I would partially agree with this caveat. Boxing teaches you how to fight against one skilled opponent. So it stands to reason that if you can handle yourself against a trained fighter, you should be able to take down a drunk idiot at a bar. (same goes for other martial sports like BJJ, muy Thai, and Judo). On the other hand, boxing teaches you to punch hard with hands taped up wearing boxing gloves. You just might break your hand doing the same punches bare knuckled that you practice in a boxing gym wearing boxing gloves.

    Finally, I would suggest that at age 41, you shouldn't be anywhere near a bar fight. Getting in a bar fight could result in your getting arrested and charged with a crime, the severity of the crime dependent on the damage you inflict. And, in this day and age, you just might get yourself killed, if the guy you are beating up has friends, or perhaps is carrying a weapon. (or might use something like a glass or bottle as a weapon) So again, while I agree it is good to be confident that if a psychopath attacks you and in a life and death situation, you stand a better chance of surviving, in practice, I would say to make it a priority never to get into a street fight or bar fight.


    My concerns with Asian martial arts Kung Fu, Karate, Mu Thai is that im thinking they take a very long time to get good and are very complicated to learn.
    Not really. I cannot really speak about Kung Fu, I started back with TKD after a long hiatus from the practice, so for me the first few months were a process of shaking the rust off, and since then working back to where I was a long time ago. But I have seen a fair number of people start up. For those who put in the work, you can see a lot of growth in the first 3 or 4 months. A lot of folks who can't even throw a basic punch or front kick are mixing it up in sparring 3 or 4 months in. Not to say they are great fighters, as that takes a lot of commitment, but I imagine that is equally true of boxing.
     
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  10. mrt2

    mrt2 Blue Belt

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    My only concern with Muy Thai for a 41 year old novice is, how much, and how often do you want to get hit? I thought about this issue when I came back to MA at age 53, and at least for now, I decided that the modest about of contact we practice in TKD was enough for me.
     
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  11. Yokazuna514

    Yokazuna514 Green Belt

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    Hey Chris and welcome to the forum. 41 is not too old to learn ANY martial art but you may notice that there are less people interested in training for competitions as you get past a certain age.

    I do Kyokushin karate and started when I was in 41. I picked Kyokushin karate because that is where my kids went AND the instruction they were receiving was top notch. I think that is the most important criteria for selecting a school, more so than the style you will be learning. What does the style matter if the instruction given isn't going to challenge you to become a better version of yourself ?

    A few markers to look for would be:
    - Do they have a free trial or a few free classes to allow you to see if the type of instruction appeals to you.
    - Are the instructors capable of doing what they ask their students to do. If they ask their students to do 50 sit ups are they doing the sit ups with the students or standing there watching.
    - Are there a good number of advanced students in the classes and could you tell who was an advanced student from their technique as opposed to telling who the advanced students are from their garb.

    If you are going to put your time and attention into training to learn a martial art, I expect you would not like to waste your time with a place that is only interested in the $$$.

    Good luck and keep us posted on what you do.
     
  12. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Grandmaster

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    As others have noted, your build is irrelevant to your choice. Any of the arts you mention will work just fine for someone of your size, age, and condition.

    The general answer to these "which art should I choose" posts is always the same. Visit as many of the available schools as you can. Pay attention to the general atmosphere, teaching style, schedule, location, and costs. You might find the best art in the world, but if the teacher doesn't click with you or you don't enjoy the atmosphere or you can't afford the tuition or the schedule or location are too inconvenient then you won't end up training consistently.

    I can give you some general ideas about the experiences you might find in the arts you list and how those might translate into improved fighting ability. ("Self-defense" is a broader, more amorphous term. Most self-defense is not fighting and most fighting is not self-defense, although there is some overlap.)

    Wing Chun: WC is a specialized art focused on close range striking. It has some good physical principles and can be effective. However many schools do little or no free sparring and focus almost exclusively on stylized drills for countering other WC practitioners. Without sparring and pressure testing against non-WC stylists, a practitioner is likely to fall apart against a tough opponent.

    Boxing: A good boxing gym is one of the fastest routes to solid unarmed fighting skills. You'll gain good physical and mental conditioning, the ability to hit hard and non-telegraphically, the ability to evade punches, good footwork, and the ability to not freak out when you get hit. Downsides - very limited grappling (just some basic clinching) and you won't work on preventing takedowns or how to protect yourself on the ground if you do get taken down.

    Muay Thai: Much the same as boxing, except that you will also learn kicks, knees, elbows, and solid clinching skills. The wider range of skills covered means that you will have less practice time to refine your punching and footwork to a high level. Depending on where you are located, the available Muay Thai instruction might be anywhere from mediocre amateur to world-class professional.

    BJJ: Primarily a grappling art, specialized in ground fighting. Any legit BJJ school will get you in great shape and help you develop excellent ground fighting skills. The thing to watch for is whether the school has retained the self-defense curriculum: punch defense, takedowns, standing clinches, dealing with common real world standing attacks. Many schools these days have started to focus almost exclusively on sport BJJ, which is mostly about grappling on the ground. A lot of the sport applications can carry over into self-defense ... but not if you can't defend against strikes and get the fight to the ground in the first place. If you can find a BJJ school which devotes a good amount of practice time to dealing with strikes and stand up situations, then this would be an excellent option.

    Judo: The parent art of BJJ. Primarily a grappling art, Judo focuses more on throwing an opponent to the ground. Judo does include ground grappling, but it's typically not as developed in that department as BJJ. Pros: You'll get in great shape, you'll learn how to throw people around, you'll learn to fall without being hurt (one of the best self-defense skills out there), you'll learn to keep from being taken down, you'll learn enough ground fighting to handle most untrained opponents easily. Cons: In most schools you won't get practice defending against punches. If you have the option of studying both boxing and Judo, they make a great combination.

    Karate: There can be a huge degree of variation in what you find in different karate schools. Some focus heavily on physical conditioning and full-contact sparring. Some focus on solo forms as performance art and tippy-tappy tagging the air sparring. Some are all about kata (sequences of techniques performed solo) while others do no kata at all. Some are just focused on striking. Some have a blend of striking and grappling. Some instructors have a solid understanding of unarmed fighting. Other instructors are clueless and delusional. You have to check out the individual school to see whether it's worthwhile.

    Hope that helps. If you can provide links to the websites of your local schools we might be able to spot any potential red flags.
     
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  13. mrt2

    mrt2 Blue Belt

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    I would agree with these 3 with a caveat on the second. Of course, the teacher should be physically capable of doing what they ask the students to do. But, the instructor might have already taught classes earlier in the day, so I don't necessarily expect the head instructor to be doing pushups and situps along with the class every time.
     
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  14. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master Black Belt

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    I'm going to give you basically the same advice I give everyone who asks this question, which is don't focus just on the style. The most important thing is that the classes are convenient to you and you enjoy them. No matter how great a certain style is, if you have to drive an hour to take class and everybody's a jerk there, you're not going to stick with it.

    Here's what I'd recommend:
    1) Make a list of the schools that are close enough to your home or work that they're convenient for you to attend twice a week (or more, but twice a week is a good schedule to start with).
    2) Look at their class schedules, and see if they have classes for adults that fit your schedule. Cross off any schools that don't.
    3) See if the schools have some kind of trial membership you can do. Just like gyms, a lot of martial arts schools offer something like, "2 weeks for $20", "one free class", etc, so you can try the school out without making a big commitment.
    4) Check out the schools' websites, social media, etc. Stop by during a class. You can get a sense of the "vibe" of a place from these things. Does this seem like a place you'd enjoy training at? Does this seem like a place where you'll learn useful skills?
    5) If you like the vibe, sign up for the trial class or trial membership. See if you like it.

    If your goal is to learn practical self-defense quickly, I'd suggest starting your search with the boxing, BJJ, and Muay Thai programs. But don't rule out other options.
     
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  15. Chrisinmd

    Chrisinmd White Belt

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    Thanks for the response. I don't have a deadline or rush per say. My thinking was just that if I happen to get mugged next week for example I would be much better able to defend myself with boxing as compared to something like Kung Fu which my impression is that is a lot more complicated to learn. Could be wrong about that I don't know.

    Also my thinking was since I don't have any background in fighting boxing would be a good foundation to begin with.
     
  16. Chrisinmd

    Chrisinmd White Belt

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  17. Chrisinmd

    Chrisinmd White Belt

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  18. jobo

    jobo Senior Master

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    Youve more or less just ignored everything people have said ? If you want to do boxing , do boxing, its as goid as anything else for general street defence, but be realistic, you wont have learned much by next week, realstical your look at 6 months to get the basics and a year or tWo to call yoyrself proficient, much the same as every other art, just try not to get mugged before next april
     
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  19. Hanzou

    Hanzou Senior Master

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    As others have said, visit each school of interest and choose the one that's right for YOU.

    However, if there's no hard sparring, walk out the door.
     
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  20. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    Go check them all out, try then if possible and then decide what feels right and fits you best.

    My youngest was in TKD, also I tried to get her to do a few things with me, but she was never going to hit anyone. However, she loves Aikido and has no problem throwing folks on the ground if need be.

    You may do great and and love boxing, or you may find you really do not want to hit anyone, you may enjoy BJJ or Judo, or you may find grappling not your cup of tea. It really does not matter which style from your list that I recommend, you may not like training it, you may not like the teacher, you may not like the atmosphere or attitude of the school, You really need to go give them a try, find what you like and it becomes a joy to train. Train it because I recommended it or just because you think it is the quickest way...you may hate it and then you will not train it
     
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