Beginner asking for guidance

calipt

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Dear Martial Arts guru's,

I am a 25yo male from Belgium, Europe and I registered here to ask for some advice and guidance into the world of martial arts. I have little to no experience in this world, except for a few things. My father has a MA past. He had his own Ju-Jitsu club in his younger years, but quit when I was born (also due to back problems). I've always been curious because alot of the equipment is still lying in his house (mats, weapons, kimonos, belts, punchbags etc).
I've also practiced Karate for a year or so, but that was at a young age and mainly due to a close friend who was a green belt and I wanted to try it. Due to age and other hobbies I did not continue it.

At this moment, I'm not practicing any active sport (I played high level basketball in national leagues but due to work I had to quit after 12 years of playing). I came to the conclusion that martial arts is really suited for me and now, with the spare time and motivation, I decided to take up the challenge and step into this world. I have a few questions tho that I'd love to see answered by experienced people here so in advance, thanks already for any replies.
Excuse me for the long text but I might aswell explain everything so I have to ask it once instead of posting replies with more questions!

What am I looking for in a martial art:
- pleasure
- competition
- intensity
- effectiveness
- discipline
- Something where I can relieve myself from the society's problems, frustrations, personal issues, forget everything and just focus on that one thing for a few hours a few times a week.
- physical training (flexibilty, stamina, endurance,...)
- self defence
- friendship & social aspects

These are my main goals for practicing a martial art.

Which martial arts are currently having my attention:
1° Taekwondo
2° Aikido
3° Ju-Jitsu
4° Krav Maga

- I love TKD because of the attractivity, the intensity, the fighting techniques like the high kicks, the physical training, competition... but I'm not sure it can be counted as a real DEFENSIVE art.
- I like Aikido for the reasons that TKD doesn't have. A real defensive art, alot of self control and the effectiveness of the fighting techniques. Shame its not a real competitive sport.
- I like Ju-Jitsu because I've seen my father's old demo videos and its a pure Defense sport, like bare hands, weapons, all kinds of escape and counter techniques, but same for Aikido, I can't really find alot of intensity and physical training in it, which is what I'm also looking for.
- I like Krav Maga because its the true self defense sport from what I've seen. But It has almost none of the goals I mentioned. It's also hard to even find a club for it over here.

At the moment, and I think it won't change, TKD and Aikido are my favourites but it are two totally different styles and both have interesting things.

Is there any advice you people can give me in choosing? Mostly likely one of the two favourites. I'm also wondering if it's advisable to combine the two. I'm planning to witness and maybe join a free test practice in 2 clubs nearby. From what I've seen on videos I feel that knowledge of execution of both Aikido & Taekwondo might be a perfect combination. tho, I'm only a beginner so if I am motivated enough to continue a style I started with, I can always consider to expand my knowledge and styles. I better shouldn't jump ahead of myself. But from what I've seen, a combination of knowing both styles seems interesting to me.

If you guys have any tips & advice and maybe explain some more about these different styles, I would be very grateful.

Thanks for reading and for any replies

Regards,

Jerry
 

Shifu Steve

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Thanks for spelling that out. My advice, first and foremost, is that it depends what's available to you and the quality of instruction you'll receive. If there is an adequate sample of schools with styles that interest you there's no need to rush into it. See if you can sit in on some classes and see what's going on in the particular school. You may be suprised with what you find. Try to speak with the head instructor and get a feel for their teaching style, philosophy etc. This is most important because the last thing you want to do is waste time training in something you won't stick with. A good teacher can really make almost any style worth learning. Be patient and do your homework.
 

Shifu Steve

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One other thing...you also mentioned training in two styles. Be wary that this could be confusing in the beginning because the training philosophies could be different. Personally, when I began training I trained in two myself (I had no choice in the matter). I found the two were very complementary. One of the styles, Ou-Der Kuntao, is very aggressive and is geared towards close quarters (although it employs technique at all ranges). I also trained in Ju-jitsu, which I found was a beautiful compliment to Ouder. It also helped me to see more of the grappling concepts in Ouder.

I suppose it's possible that you could pick two styles that were very similar but the training philosophies employed by the instructors could have subtle differences that would confuse you. I advocate getting a solid base in something you really enjoy and then think about training in something else. But again, and I can't stress this enough, just because you have options doesn't mean they're good options. You really need to get a feel for the instructors and make sure your in a place where you'll be able to grow as a martial artist.
 

blindsage

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If you are really interested in TKD there are usually TKD schools that also teach Hapkido, a Korean art similar to Ju-Jitsu.
 
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calipt

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I understand it can be confusing going for two styles but it's not an immediate option. I'm planning to focus on what I'll enjoy most first.

I'm gonna try a lesson of both styles I think. In TKD i enjoy the competitive aspect and the intensity. Its a sport, while Aikido is not really a sport.

My current idea is to go practice TKD, if I enjoy it ofcourse, and pick up Aikido later on when but as a pure self defense style.

Maybe I should look up some info on Hapkido
 
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calipt

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I went to check out one of two TKD schools I had an eye on. Its a rather big club (arguably the biggest and best competitive club in Flemish Belgium), but I was impressed by the environment. Their own dojo, no rented room at a local gym/ballsport location.

But I have mixed feelings. I knew TKD was mostly about legwork, specially in WTF clubs, but I was surprised that hardly any arms were used during the entire class. We did the usual warm-up, kick practice and front kick training during sparring. There was no armwork nor any blocking involved.

It was only one class ofcourse but I guess I was expecting 'more'.

Also, due to it being a wellknown club, the class was rather big, about 50 students and 1 instructor. Not really ideal.

I'm planning to not overrush any decision and definately check out other tkd clubs and also other style, such as aikido, ju jitsu & hapkido.

If anyone can advise me any other worthchecking-out style thats a bit competitive in the future grading, please let me know. I'm very openminded now :)
 

blindsage

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If you really like TKD and are looking for a little more than what a WTF school focuses on, you might also keep an eye out for other Korean styles like Tang Soo Do, or Hwarang Do.
 

bushidomartialarts

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The art you choose is not nearly as important as the relationship you have with your instructor. I'd recommend checking out all the schools in a reasonable driving distance and find which ones you 'click' with.

You're in this for the rest of your life. You should share the ride with people you can get on with.
 

Golden Harvest

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Dear Martial Arts guru's,


What am I looking for in a martial art:
- pleasure
- competition
- intensity
- effectiveness
- discipline
- Something where I can relieve myself from the society's problems, frustrations, personal issues, forget everything and just focus on that one thing for a few hours a few times a week.
- physical training (flexibilty, stamina, endurance,...)
- self defence
- friendship & social aspects

These are my main goals for practicing a martial art.

Which martial arts are currently having my attention:
1° Taekwondo
2° Aikido
3° Ju-Jitsu
4° Krav Maga


From your requirements above, you are asking a lot, which may mean that you are not sure of what you really want at this point. True martial art is not about competition. If you want trophies, then Wushu may be for you. All martial art requires discipline. That is a given. Committing yourself to consistant practice outside of class and keeping yourself motivated requires far more discipline than most beginner realizes.

From my perspective, there is nothing wrong in taking two styles of martial art as long as they are complementry or yin and yang to each other such as TDK and Aikido. The softness balances the hardness and vice versa. This is the reason why many Chinese Masters practice both internal and external martial arts such as, for example, Hung Gar and Tai Chi, respectively. In time, you will find much improvement over someone else who only practices one martial art. Not only that, you will have great health and still be practicing long after everyone else's knees and joints have given out in later years.

My recommendation is to include Tai Chi with whatever you decide to take because your health is the most important thing. Without it, nothing really matters.

I wish you much enjoyment on your life long martial art journey and peace be with you always.


Regards.
 

Kyosanim

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One other thing...you also mentioned training in two styles. Be wary that this could be confusing in the beginning because the training philosophies could be different. Personally, when I began training I trained in two myself (I had no choice in the matter). I found the two were very complementary. One of the styles, Ou-Der Kuntao, is very aggressive and is geared towards close quarters (although it employs technique at all ranges). I also trained in Ju-jitsu, which I found was a beautiful compliment to Ouder. It also helped me to see more of the grappling concepts in Ouder.

I suppose it's possible that you could pick two styles that were very similar but the training philosophies employed by the instructors could have subtle differences that would confuse you. I advocate getting a solid base in something you really enjoy and then think about training in something else. But again, and I can't stress this enough, just because you have options doesn't mean they're good options. You really need to get a feel for the instructors and make sure your in a place where you'll be able to grow as a martial artist.


I would really like to reinforce the importance of this post as well add a bit.
I don't know much about aikido, but I am a TKD black belt. In TKD you will find some schools to be self defense oriented while others are sport focused.
TKD in SD mode consists of low kicks, meant to break knees groin shots, and eye gouging. As a sport it is all high flying kicks, and speed, speed, speed.
Beware of schools that do not teach much in the way of hand techs, and be extremely careful with instructors who are not kukkiwon certified 1st dan black belts or above. Truthfully if your going to learn TKD you want an instructor who is at least 5th dan, and also knows hapkido. Persoanlly I have found TKD to be plagued by politics, but that has been my experience.

I wish you luck in your search for a martial arts school, and I hope you find what you are looking for.
 

Mark Jordan

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Try establishing a base style before branching out and choose something that will complement each other nicely so you'll have an easy time learning one along with the other. Focus on what I'll enjoy most first.

Training in Hapkido has many benefits and it works the whole body.
 

Aquanaut

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I think they all missed the secret ingredient - enjoyment.

Find a system you really enjoy - at a school you like - with an instructor you enjoy. As self defence is not high on your priorities you can chose freely from the incredibly diverse range of martial arts.

Perhaps even look at the japanese systems or BJJ - great sporting activity and great fun.

If you have any desire for self defence I would stay away from taekwondo even the more self defence based versions. There are much better self defence systems but as I said - the secret ingredient is finding something you enjoy.
Best Wishes
Paul
 

Balrog

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I'll add that Taekwondo is an excellent defensive art. It may be highly visible as a sporting event at the Olympics, etc., but the underlying core of the art is self-defense.

Whichever art you chose, let me suggest that you treat it as if it were your major in college. Stick with it, learn it thoroughly, earn at least 2nd Degree Black Belt in it. Along the way, dabble with some other martial arts and get a taste for them. Once you reach your goal in your "major", then continue to train in it and if you wish, begin cross-training in another martial art that may have interested you when you dabbled in it, almost like taking a second college degree.

Don't try to learn two at the same time to start with. You won't learn either one of them well.

Good luck in your training!
 
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