Apparently, the same question every newbie asks...

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kisern

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I am interested in developing hand-to-hand combat skills. I am 41, I am currently out of shape, but am 2 months into a program to lose weight and shape up. In looking around at several schools in my area I have been able to come up with some idea of what I want, but I'm still unclear which discipline would best meet my needs. Aikido interests me but, from my limited understanding, I would think its application to be narrow in the real world. I like what I see in Aikido very much, but I imagine being attacked by multiple attackers and I think to myself that not-hurting them would be the last thing on my mind. That I would want to disable the attackers in order to focus on the remaining one(s). And when I look at all of the other disciplines my head just begins to swim. While there is a lot of information on the Internet on Martial Arts, so far I have found very little organization.

So my first question is: What are the great Martial Arts resources on the Internet? (I've been very disappointed in my ability to locate and to get reviews on local MA schools).

After some thought, here is what I came up with:

Things I expect I would get from any of the Martial Arts I am considering:
  • Better balance
  • Improved coordination
  • Improved thought process and decision making
  • Some degree of physical improvement
Things I want:
  • Practical fighting skills - skills I can use in the real world
  • Better control of adrenaline/heartrate during conflict
  • Ability to disable an attacker in a wide range of scenarios
    • Without harming
    • With harm (multiple attackers - lessened ability to disable without harm)
    • larger, stronger attacker
    • smaller, quicker attacker
Things I would like:

  • Meditative skills
Things I do not want:
  • Fighting skills primarily suited for competition (e.g. not real-world applicable)
Near me there are Aikido, Judo, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and Hap Ki Do schools. A little further away, but still doable, is a Tai Chi and Shaolin Kempo school. Price seems fairly constant, so that's not really a factor. I have been to 2 schools and I would go and witness a class from any school/instructor that I might consider. I'm just not sure which discipline best fits my needs, despite all that I have read. In fact, I just read a treatise on another site that spoke of how most, if not all Martial Arts are outdated for use in the real-world today. This is a big thing for me. I like the culture and the "art" side of these disciplines, but right now I want practical hand-to-hand combat skills. I could regress later if I desired. Last thing I want to do now is spend several years learning something that fails me when I need it on the street.

I would apprecaite any and all insights. If you feel the answer to my inquiry is answered elsewhere, if you could just provide me the link I would be most appreciative.

Thanks,
-Neil K.
 

Paul B

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Hi Neil!

Hmmm...looks like you have done more research than most "noobs"...good for you!

You said you liked what you saw in Aikido...did you go watch a class? If so...what "style" of Aikido was it? Some styles are "harder" than others.

If you want practical fighting skills, I have to tell you that nothing in self defense comes quickly...sorry. It takes some time,as I am sure you have heard before. That being said,I would go to each and every one of the schools you mentioned,and get some first-hand experience. Sometimes what you want isn't what you need...LOL More important is how you "feel" in the Dojo/Dojang/Kwoon.

How your instructor communicates to you personally is also very important. It could be the "deadliest" style in the world,and you have an instructor with whom you can't communicate,and it becomes a moot point.

I would say just go and visit,pick the school where you feel "right",and start training! Good luck!

Oh...yeah...and I "hear" that Hapkido stuff is pretty good.too.:uhyeah: Let us know how it goes!
 

Feisty Mouse

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It sounds like you have done a lot of background research on what's available, and what you might be looking for.

Personally, I can't overemphasize how important the school/ instructor(s) are for your training. Now, you may be surrounded by fabulous schools and great people. But I think the next step is going out to some of these schools that you might be interested in, talking to instructors, watching a class, and getting a feel for each place.
 

shesulsa

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Hello, Neil and welcome to Martial Talk.

I agree that the primary concern is with the instructor, their background and the school's background.

Some places will let you try things out for a week or two at no charge if you sign a release. If you can find some schools that do this, I would jump on the opportunity. Getting a hands-on feel for what you might be doing is a great way to see if you think it's right for you. Communicate your goals to the instructors you speak with and see if they can give you a sample of what you would be learning. If they do and you like it, you'll be in a better position to find that out.

Don't sign a contract, either. You might get two or three ranks done and figure out it's not right for you after all. Then you have the option of finding one that is without losing all the money.

Happy hunting!

She-Sulsa
 

Andrew Green

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kisern said:
Things I do not want:
  • Fighting skills primarily suited for competition (e.g. not real-world applicable)
Depending on the rules of the competition... many soirt forms are far more applicable then non-sport forms due to the constant practice against someone that is fighting back.

Anyways, If you aren't enjoying it you won't stay. If you don't stay it isn't helpful. So pick the one you enjoy, not the one people on a board tell you is the best for fighting.

Unless you are in a occupation or situation where you NEED these skills, cuase chances are you will never use them outside of the gym.
 

Gin-Gin

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I also did not know which style/system I wanted to try, so I called the schools in the phonebook that were close to where I lived, & found one with a great introductory special. Luckily, after 2 or 3 classes I was hooked. All I can say is go to as many different schools in your area as you can, talk to the instructors and watch at least a couple of classes from each--you'll know when you find the one. Good Luck in your search.

Respectfully,
Gin-Gin :asian:
 

Michael Billings

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Visit all the schools, it sounds like a limited number. Find a teacher you like and an environment you like. When choosing something like this, realize it is probably a part of your life for the next several years (hopefully), so there is nothing wrong with shopping around a bit. Find a compromise between the art and the instructor that you like.

Good luck,
-Micheal
 

still learning

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Hello, Most of the advice are very good? Listen to all of them,and notice what most are saying to you? For your age, you seen very bright!
1: Go to the school and watch,introduce your self and get the feel of the teacher
2; Try the class if they allow you too,without signing up first
3: Trust your instincts, that gut feeling saying this is the one!
4: Keep it as close to home, as a school kid,homework is very important too!
5. Are they friendly? I like training with friendly students, especially those who wants to help you with your training,
6. go back and see the other feedbacks again...Now you will need to act....Good luck....Aloha
 

still learning

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Hello, Most of the advice are very good? Listen to all of them,and notice what most are saying to you? For your age, you seen very bright!
1: Go to the school and watch,introduce your self and get the feel of the teacher
2; Try the class if they allow you too,without signing up first
3: Trust your instincts, that gut feeling saying this is the one!
4: Keep it as close to home, as a school kid,homework is very important too!
5. Are they friendly? I like training with friendly students, especially those who wants to help you with your training,
6. go back and see the other feedbacks again...Now you will need to act....Good luck....Aloha
 
OP
K

kisern

Guest
Hi, thanks for your help. Not sure though where you saw my age. I am 41. I don't normally have 'homework' these days! But my 6 year old daughter does, so the same advice applies :)

Thanks for the advice. I think I may have found a school, and I did apply all the advice I was given here in this forum.

Thanks again!
-Neil K.

still learning said:
Hello, Most of the advice are very good? Listen to all of them,and notice what most are saying to you? For your age, you seen very bright!
1: Go to the school and watch,introduce your self and get the feel of the teacher
2; Try the class if they allow you too,without signing up first
3: Trust your instincts, that gut feeling saying this is the one!
4: Keep it as close to home, as a school kid,homework is very important too!
5. Are they friendly? I like training with friendly students, especially those who wants to help you with your training,
6. go back and see the other feedbacks again...Now you will need to act....Good luck....Aloha
 

7starmantis

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kisern said:
Thanks for the advice. I think I may have found a school, and I did apply all the advice I was given here in this forum.

Thanks again!
-Neil K.
Great, what did you decide to go with? Have you started yet? Remember, its a personal journey. Do what is best for you.

7sm
 
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SammyB57

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Aikido combined with Judo would be deadly.

Most people don't understand how powerful grappling really is because they don't know anything about it. There are so many beautiful subtleties that are missed.

A choke can be a non-lethal way of disabling an attacker effectively. In my opinion, that is a way of stopping an attacker without harming him. It takes a few minutes without oxygen to have permanent damage, and I see people choked out a lot in Jiu-Jitsu tournaments (Aikido/Jiu-jitsu/Judo all are in the same family and have many similarities and blend together well) and they just wake up and forget where they are.

Joint-locks in Jiu-jitsu (henceforth meaning Aikido and Judo as well) can be very devastating as well. Breaking someone's arm can definitely lend you an advantage in a fight.

Jiu-jitsu is good for women and smaller people because it relies on technique and leverage over strength. While strength is still a factor, jiu-jitsu helps to bridge the gap.

Aikido is very spiritual. Judo is very competitive. Aikido has good technique and Judo helps you get better at the application of that technique under stress against resistance. Check into it and let me know.

If you need combat skills IMMEDIATELY, go buy a gun and take some classes. There is no way you can learn to fight in a few weeks and even then, the greatest martial artist will struggle to overcome multiple attackers or attackers with weapons. Unless you are Mike Tyson and can bite peoples ears off, hcan knock out a mule with a punch, and talk with a lisp.
 

Brother John

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Neil-
What I really respect is that you seem to have really thought your reasons for seeking martial arts info out and you've clearly defined your desires for what you want to get from the martial art you chose. You've got an excellent start.
Where are the martial arts greatest resources?? I'm biased, but ...You are there!! Martial talk is filled with knowledgeable/helpful people from MANY different martial arts and at many different levels of experience. Keep asking and learn to discern the wheat from the chaff...as with any place filled with thousands of differing opinions and political squables, learning whom to listen to is really the greatest asset you can have here.
#1: Most any one of us will put our own martial art out there first and tell you that IT has all that you will need. We are passionate and proud of what we do and where we come from.... but there's always more than one answer. SO keep that in mind.
#2: Given the parameters of your seeking
Things I want:
Practical fighting skills - skills I can use in the real world
Better control of adrenaline/heartrate during conflict
Ability to disable an attacker in a wide range of scenarios
Without harming
With harm (multiple attackers - lessened ability to disable without harm)
larger, stronger attacker
smaller, quicker attacker
Things I would like:

Meditative skills
Things I do not want:
Fighting skills primarily suited for competition (e.g. not real-world applicable)
This does narrow things down a bit, the Last point really being the crux of the deal and those that precede it really just being the HOW it gets done. Given this I'd give this advice: any artist that tries to sell you on the efficacy of their system due to it's being "ancient" is automatically suspect. Efficacy has to do with results, the age of an art may speak to it's potency as much as it could to it's own degredation.....ie; most of it's valuable lessons being lost in course of time.
So, bearing this in mind AND the martial arts that you said you have access too.... here's what I'd suggest:
#1: What style of "karate" is it? That matters a great deal. there's a LOT of styles of Karate, many would fit the bill very well.... many that wouldn't even come close.
#2: Hapkido would do very well for you! Look here first.
#3: In my way of thinking, American Kenpo Karate can't be beaten for practicallity..... but know this :: I'm heavily biased. Investigate for yourself.

that's all I have to offer for now. Please keep in touch as to how it goes for you in your search.
Your Brother
John
PS: Always remember: there are MORE martial arts lessons in your area than you could ever be aware of. There are schools at churches, schools at YMCA's, schools at dance schools and many very good schools that are actually located at peoples homes. Here in my own home town there were two very good, effective, styles being taught in the back of a "Golf repair shop" and their advertising was almost NIL.... never would have known about them if not for the fact that a friend of mine accidentally found them. KEEP your ear to the ground in your own area.... I'd dare to bet that you've only found those that advertise in the phone book....which are few. You may get more results by befriending a martial artist in your area and asking "What are all the instructors in the area that you know of???"
you'd be surprised.
 

tshadowchaser

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I echo what the others have said Go visit the schools in person. Watch to see where the emphises of the class is and ask questions. Don't be taken in by any sales pitch.
Hapkido, Shaolin Kempo, Karate (depending on style and the instructor) would be at the top of my list if I where you. The others would take a longer time to get what you want but all are good
let us know what you see and decide on
 
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