Cross-training from Olympic weightlifting, want to study a MA

mCole

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Hey guys.

I want to study some form of martial art. I read the sticky threads, and in my area, I have access to: BJJ, Judo, Muay Thai, boxing, and Krav Maga.

I am 5'5" and 175 pounds. I compete in Olympic weightlifting at 169/77kg. I've only been weightlifting seriously for about a year, but it seems to come relatively naturally, and I wish I started sooner (previously was a distance runner then got into powerlifting so I'm in decent shape).

Here's the thing: I want to be able to defend myself and I want more discipline in my life. Those are the two things I am looking for in any type of martial art. I am not interested in actually competing in anything that isn't weightlifting.

I also have a herniated C6 (from benching back in the day) and am worried about what having my neck grabbed and pulled will do to it.

Muay Thai interests me a lot. Watching pro matches, those guys destroy each other. I mean that is serious, serious, skill. The sport is clearly violent and I am worried about what it will do to my body's ability to recover to snatch and clean & jerk properly.

The other thing is that:
With my schedule, I can study Muay Thai two or three times per week.
I can study BJJ once or twice per week depending on work.
I can take a Krav Maga classes 1-3 times per week depending on my work schedule.
Judo I can study once or twice per week, but the gym is in a terrible part of the city and I'll be walking through it/on the bus at night.

Obviously the frequency isn't ideal but it's what I have to work with.

I plan on checking out the individual gyms. My problem with Krav Maga is that it seems to be sort of hokey in the United States at least; I don't doubt it's legitimacy, but when you YouTube BJJ or Muay Thai, or Judo, you see these brutal matches where these guys have been studying and training these arts their entire lives. When you search Krav Maga, you mostly see a maneuver in slow motion that an instructor applies against a willing subject. Granted Krav Maga seems like it's really only self defense and not meant to be competitive, but I don't know. Something about it rubs me the wrong way.

I am going to check out each gym but if you guys have any advice, I'd like to hear it.
 
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Monkey Turned Wolf

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First, as a warning, the muscles you use in MA are different than the ones used in weightlifting. If you're not competing it shouldn't matter at all, just keep that in mind.
My personal opinion on each, without knowing the dojo (this can vary wildly from each dojo). I'm sure people will disagree.
Muay Thai: More than once a week would be better, but it is good for self defense. Depending on the gym, they may not care about discipline too much.
BJJ: Good for cardio, fitness and humility. However, to me at least it is better as a supplementary art if your goal is self-defense (it is necessary but not sufficient). I have heard that some schools teach self defense and how to use it in response to punches/SD situations, but I have not seen that in the dojos I have visited.
Krav: Keep in mind that krav maga is inherently not competitive, so you won't see those brutal matches. What you see is what makes sense: they are focused on technique, so they slow down so people can see what technique they are using and how, and demonstrations are easier if the person is helping. The best way to tell if a self-defense school (like a krav or some kenpo schools) is legit is, when you go there are they doing those techniques full speed? Is the person actively resisting at points, or at the very least not going along with the technique/allowing them to do it? This is what you should look for in the advanced students (For you they should give way a bit when you do it, because you are new and learning the technique)
Judo: I have a bias, but this is the best option in my opinion. Judo clubs should teach both SD and discipline. If it's a sports judo club they might not. Also 2 times a week will be enough, but only if you're willing to accept that it will take a while to learn (MT and KM are quicker to learn the basics, BJJ and Judo are not). Only issue is that it's in a bad neighborhood so you would have to be willing to go there and take that risk twice a week.
 
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mCole

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Thanks. I updated the OP -- I found a more personal and intimate MT gym that's closer to me. I could train MT up to three times per week.

The Krav gym just seems commercial -- like the difference between a commercial fitness center versus a powerlifting or weightlifting gym, if that makes sense. Sort of watered down. It doesn't mean it is, but it almost looks like it's a hybrid of circuit training/self defense. It seems like it doesn't really specialize in any one thing, whereas I'm a big fan of training one thing pretty specifically. IE if you want to snatch heavy, you snatch and work on snatch technique and balance, and squat heavy. It's all a means to an end.

Honestly with the location of that MT gym (they also teach submission wrestling) and the class schedule, it's almost far and away my best option. I basically snatch or c&j heavy on Tues/Fri, and do snatch technique and balance work Mon/Thurs. The MT gym has classes Weds, Sat, Sun. I have also considered learning the basics in MT and getting some sparring experience, seeing how I feel, then possibly pursuing something like BJJ.

Are most clubs cool with you stopping in to observe a class? Figure I'd always call first and ask, but you know.

Is a dojo just a place where martial arts are trained or is it a term only applicable to certain disciplines? Just asking so I can be respectful. I don't know if you can universally call judo/BJJ/whatever clubs "gyms" or "dojos."
 

Dirty Dog

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Are most clubs cool with you stopping in to observe a class? Figure I'd always call first and ask, but you know.

Is a dojo just a place where martial arts are trained or is it a term only applicable to certain disciplines? Just asking so I can be respectful. I don't know if you can universally call judo/BJJ/whatever clubs "gyms" or "dojos."

In my experience, most schools are fine with people observing class. Many will let you try class for free for a short time. Personally, any school that wouldn't at least let me observe classes would be scratched right off a list of potential places to train.

There's little or no universal terminology. Dojo is the Japanese word, so it's probably appropriate to use it in any place teaching Japanese arts. It would be technically incorrect (but not get you lynched or anything) in a Chinese or Korean school.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Do any of them have websites? Meant to ask in earlier post but forgot.

If you could do MT 3 times a week and also learn some grappling there, that would probably be the best option, especially if it is a legit place (I'm a huge fan of intimate gyms). Just now that discipline likely won't be a top priority.

I dont think I've ever visited a club that didn't offer to either observe or participate in a class, or to get a private lesson. Call them up and see how they handle it.

Different disciplines have different names (dojo, dojang, gym, club, etc.) and sometimes it'll depend on the place. MT is generally gym, same with krav maga. I am not sure about BJJ, and Judo is generally either a dojo or club. If you don't know, ask them directly, or use dojo since it's generally the safest. No one should find it disrespectful.
 
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mCole

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Do any of them have websites? Meant to ask in earlier post but forgot.

If you could do MT 3 times a week and also learn some grappling there, that would probably be the best option, especially if it is a legit place (I'm a huge fan of intimate gyms). Just now that discipline likely won't be a top priority.

I dont think I've ever visited a club that didn't offer to either observe or participate in a class, or to get a private lesson. Call them up and see how they handle it.

Different disciplines have different names (dojo, dojang, gym, club, etc.) and sometimes it'll depend on the place. MT is generally gym, same with krav maga. I am not sure about BJJ, and Judo is generally either a dojo or club. If you don't know, ask them directly, or use dojo since it's generally the safest. No one should find it disrespectful.
They all have websites. The intimate MT gym seems to have less than 8 people in at any point. The rest don't really have videos except the Krav Maga one, which looks like they're doing team building exercises, although there is some relatively intense sparring.

I feel like in terms of self-defense, the benefit of MT is that it's going to teach me how to strike properly, how to evade, how to block, and how to take a hit. I feel like that would translate into almost any other type of self-defense.

Yeah man, intimate is the way to go. My weightlifting coach trains between 3-12 people at once. It's worth going to the early session and literally changing my entire schedule around to be in the facility when he's only got three athletes in front of him. I also train at a powerlifting gym before work one day a week and it's super small... I've noticed that these smaller facilities are generally more hardcore, and everyone is there to just train. Makes progress faster and to be honest most of those people are way more helpful/friendly and way less egotistical.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Have you visited the MT school yet? If not, visit it. If the vibe is the vibe that you're getting from their website, go there.
 

GiYu - Todd

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Almost all schools will let you observe a class. At our school, we prefer visitors to call ahead and come to a tuesday night class (that way, there is only one class per week being disrupted by visitors... although we'll welcome walk-ins too.). If they let you do a trial class or two, absolutely do it before you commit. Expect them to have you sign a liability waiver and maybe pay a mat fee before training. Don't feel bad about shopping around a couple places to see where you feel most at home.

Good luck.
 
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mCole

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Almost all schools will let you observe a class. At our school, we prefer visitors to call ahead and come to a tuesday night class (that way, there is only one class per week being disrupted by visitors... although we'll welcome walk-ins too.). If they let you do a trial class or two, absolutely do it before you commit. Expect them to have you sign a liability waiver and maybe pay a mat fee before training. Don't feel bad about shopping around a couple places to see where you feel most at home.

Good luck.
Thanks man. I'm going to stop into one of the MT classes tonight.
 
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mCole

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Well guys, I checked out that MT gym and really liked it. Really want to start ASAP. It was pretty laid back but also very serious. Just seems like a lot of fun.

I'm thinking I might stick with MT for a bit, mainly to learn how to actually hit someone and defend myself. To be honest I am actually very interested in judo, too. Really all of the arts available in my area seem very cool. I can't start anything new for about another week due to a sports competition coming up, so I have some time to check out a few more gyms.
 

kuniggety

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First, as a warning, the muscles you use in MA are different than the ones used in weightlifting. If you're not competing it shouldn't matter at all, just keep that in mind.

BJJ: Good for cardio, fitness and humility. However, to me at least it is better as a supplementary art if your goal is self-defense (it is necessary but not sufficient). I have heard that some schools teach self defense and how to use it in response to punches/SD situations, but I have not seen that in the dojos I have visited.

I agree with most of your points but disagree with these two. Olympic weightlifting is not body building... It builds tremendous core and explosive strength which ties into about any martial art. For the BJJ, you did caveat yourself, but it really does depend on the school. Old school BJJ was all self-defense. Then people started focusing on competition for a long time. Recently there has been a revisit to the self-defense focus and a lot of schools have self-defense curriculum that are taught before anything even remotely competition focused is taught.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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I agree with most of your points but disagree with these two. Olympic weightlifting is not body building... It builds tremendous core and explosive strength which ties into about any martial art.
I wouldn't disagree with that, but a lot of arts/schools will also focus on slimming down a bit. Never tried Olympic Weightlifting, but I would assume that's a bad thing. If I'm wrong please let me know.
For the BJJ, you did caveat yourself, but it really does depend on the school. Old school BJJ was all self-defense. Then people started focusing on competition for a long time. Recently there has been a revisit to the self-defense focus and a lot of schools have self-defense curriculum that are taught before anything even remotely competition focused is taught.
Fair enough. I've only been to 3 schools that taught BJJ, and it was years back at this point, so not remotely close to an expert at the current trends. Thanks.
 

crazydiamond

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Too bad there is no one teaching a mixed martial art near you. However MT will be safe of the neck versus judo or BJJ. However your strength would be an asset in grappling. My martial art includes a bit of grappling but less then I would like.
 
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mCole

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Hey guys, not to bump such an old thread, but I decided to go with MT.

I really like it, I've already done some training in it. In fact I like it so much, I would be interested in actually fighting one day.

There is an MMA gym near me but it's very expensive and I'd have fewer classes than at the traditional MT gym.

My MT technique is horrendous, but I can generate some serious power because of oly lifting. I'm excited to see what I can do once I become even remotely competent in MT. MT is teaching me a lot about movement and balance and general athleticism. It's really, really cool.

Right now I'm 5'5" and about 75/165.

Not sure what type of MT weight class I'd be in or what my opponents would be built like. I'm curious, but that's way down the road anyway. Good news is that with all the MT I'm slimming down rapidly and my weightlifting coach thinks I might be able to move down a weight class.

Thanks for the advice, guys. Turns out there's a legit boxing club right around the corner from where I live. I liked the gym, but my gut says MT. Definitely going to spend some time in the boxing gym down the line.
 
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Tgace

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I've been picking up on more of the "metabolic conditioning" side of the house lately.

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I find this workout has really been ramping up the stamina.. I'm up to two rounds of 3 min stations separated with half miles (3 mile total).

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