Help A New Martial Artist Out With Some Advice!

BradderzH

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Hi,

I'm relativly new to martial arts, having trained in Karate (shito-ryu) for around 7 or 8 months now. This is my only martial arts experience apart from a few months taking Judo when I was younger. I enjoy my Karate training, but I am looking for some advice from more experienced and seasoned martial artists (of any style or art).

I stared training in Karate almost purely for self defence (i have no interest in competing, not being competitive), but partially because of a lot of my friends being into martial arts. I feel it is important to know how to defend yourself should someone come after you in the street.

I have a friend who has been training in Wing Chun for two years, as well as taking a few classes in BJJ. We have had a few sparring sessions, no 'wing chun vs karate' nonsense, just one of us throwing a few punches and the other using the respective techniques to dispose of the attacker. A fake 'street attack' if you will. What bothers me is that i found it hard to tell when the punches were going to come and where, so i ended up taking a lot of punches (my nose still hurts!). So my question is, how do you guys work on your sparring? how do you improve your reflexes to the point where you can block or trap a punch and successfully hit back without thinking about it?

also, how effective do you think karate is on the street? do you have any stories of when you've had to use it to defend yourself? I know with good training, any art is effective, and no art is superior to another, but i do know that certain arts suit different people better. Wing Chun has this principle of attacking while defending, and defeating your opponent as quickly as possible. most of It's strikes also go through the opponent, something i feel is more effective than Karate's front snap kick, where you quickly pull your leg back. i feel like i can got more power with stepping through with the kick. No art is superior, but if i feel that Wing Chun's principles are more attuned to my reasons for training, should I try some Wing Chun? or is it too early in my Martial Arts 'life' to be making these judgements? (i'm only a green belt in karate). I enjoy my Karate training, but i'm not sure i'll be able to take on two martial arts! (feel free to correct me on any of the principles of karate/wing chun, i'm very new to this game)

Thanks for taking the time to read this!
 

jks9199

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You're actually asking a few bigger questions than you realize there...

First... martial arts for self defense. How to say this... Martial arts in and of themselves won't teach you self defense, just like marksmanship and target shooting won't teach you how to win a shoot out. But you will learn and develop tools that'll help you if you do find yourself in the situations of protecting yourself. Clear as mud? Defending yourself involves a lot more than simply knowing how to handle a punch or kick -- or to recognize it coming. You have to recognize the types of violence, the places that violence takes place, who's likely to commit what sort of violence... and then you can worry about what to do if someone throws a punch. After you do handle an attack -- you have to be prepared for the physical (injury, after affects of adrenalization), emotional/psychological, and legal results. So... can martial arts be useful? Certainly. But they have to be trained in a way to make them useful.

How do you improve your reflexes? Practice. Sorry -- there's no secret. Just lots of good, proper practice. And taking some lumps along the way..

Changing arts? Can't make that call. Do you like your school? Do you like your instructor? Is the other practical for you to train at? Affordable?
 

Takai

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You're actually asking a few bigger questions than you realize there...

Agreed.

First... martial arts for self defense. How to say this... Martial arts in and of themselves won't teach you self defense, just like marksmanship and target shooting won't teach you how to win a shoot out. But you will learn and develop tools that'll help you if you do find yourself in the situations of protecting yourself. Clear as mud? Defending yourself involves a lot more than simply knowing how to handle a punch or kick -- or to recognize it coming. You have to recognize the types of violence, the places that violence takes place, who's likely to commit what sort of violence... and then you can worry about what to do if someone throws a punch. After you do handle an attack -- you have to be prepared for the physical (injury, after affects of adrenalization), emotional/psychological, and legal results. So... can martial arts be useful? Certainly. But they have to be trained in a way to make them useful.

Well put.

How do you improve your reflexes? Practice. Sorry -- there's no secret. Just lots of good, proper practice. And taking some lumps along the way..

This is very sound advice. Learning how read other peoples movement and intention while moving yourself is certainly not a skill attained overnight. It takes time to gain proficiency in anything.

Changing arts? Can't make that call. Do you like your school? Do you like your instructor? Is the other practical for you to train at? Affordable?

There is certainly nothing wrong with changing arts. However, try to avoid ending up with "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence" mentality when it comes to training. As my Sifu is apt to say "The is the truth no matter where you find it." Make sure that if you change it is not a knee jerk reaction. I would bet that part of the issue that you are having with his punches is because he is attacking on a line that you are not used to defending. Karate and Wing Chun adhere to a different set of philosophies. Mixing it up is good. If you are having some issues can you talk to your Instructor and see if he has some ideas for you. Don't think that you have to abandon and art just because you are taking a few lumps from someone that trains in a different system. I would wager that all of us more "seasoned" practitioners have been "run over" a few times while training with someone in an different system. You live, you learn.

Enjoy the Journey.
 

K-man

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Welcome to MT. :wavey:

There is a wealth of good advice in what is posted above. Perhaps I could add, IMHO potentially all styles of karate and many other martial arts will give you the skills to defend yourself if properly taught. Karate has a lot of its material that came from Kung fu but a lot of the teaching has been lost. Kenya Mabuni, who developed Shito Ryu, was one of the guys who used to teach the applications so the style has the content to do all you require.

As was said above, the ability to avoid getting hit is something that comes with time and practice. It also has a lot to do with the way you watch your opponent. For example, watch the whole body. Don't focus on his hands. That will mean more to you as you progress.

Enjoy your time on MT.
:asian:
 

mook jong man

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Hi,

I'm relativly new to martial arts, having trained in Karate (shito-ryu) for around 7 or 8 months now. This is my only martial arts experience apart from a few months taking Judo when I was younger. I enjoy my Karate training, but I am looking for some advice from more experienced and seasoned martial artists (of any style or art).

I stared training in Karate almost purely for self defence (i have no interest in competing, not being competitive), but partially because of a lot of my friends being into martial arts. I feel it is important to know how to defend yourself should someone come after you in the street.

I have a friend who has been training in Wing Chun for two years, as well as taking a few classes in BJJ. We have had a few sparring sessions, no 'wing chun vs karate' nonsense, just one of us throwing a few punches and the other using the respective techniques to dispose of the attacker. A fake 'street attack' if you will. What bothers me is that i found it hard to tell when the punches were going to come and where, so i ended up taking a lot of punches (my nose still hurts!). So my question is, how do you guys work on your sparring? how do you improve your reflexes to the point where you can block or trap a punch and successfully hit back without thinking about it?

also, how effective do you think karate is on the street? do you have any stories of when you've had to use it to defend yourself? I know with good training, any art is effective, and no art is superior to another, but i do know that certain arts suit different people better. Wing Chun has this principle of attacking while defending, and defeating your opponent as quickly as possible. most of It's strikes also go through the opponent, something i feel is more effective than Karate's front snap kick, where you quickly pull your leg back. i feel like i can got more power with stepping through with the kick. No art is superior, but if i feel that Wing Chun's principles are more attuned to my reasons for training, should I try some Wing Chun? or is it too early in my Martial Arts 'life' to be making these judgements? (i'm only a green belt in karate). I enjoy my Karate training, but i'm not sure i'll be able to take on two martial arts! (feel free to correct me on any of the principles of karate/wing chun, i'm very new to this game)

Thanks for taking the time to read this!

If he is a decent Wing Chun guy he will not telegraph , the arm will not draw back even one millimetre before the punch is thrown , this is engrained by practice of the the siu nim tao form.
Even if he is throwing punches that aren't part of the system.
This can make picking up body cues extemely difficult , hence our reliance on chi sau training , because we can't even see the punches , so we rely on our sense of touch instead of our eyes to stop them.

In Wing Chun training beginners will start with the "four corner deflection drill" this is defending against a series of left/right , high and low hooks and upper cuts.
At first it is in sequence ,then as the student becomes more competent it becomes random.


Later on high/low straight punches and high/low back fists are also thrown in , the drill then advances from "four corner' to six and eight corner deflection'.
The partner attacks as fast as possible with no gaps in timing between the punches , and the Wing Chun student must keep up , minimal movement is crucial in order to intercept the attacks.
Eventually after thousands of repetitions it becomes a "wall of defence" that does not require conscious thought.
 

KydeX

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The thing about training with your friends who does other arts is that the different arts have different focuses. Some arts work better at "play fighting" with your friends than others.

I used to train Karate my self for many years. I've sometimes sparred with friends that do other arts. As an extreme example, i can refer to one of my friends that does judo. He would totally dominate me. Why? Because he could throw me down and lock me up without hurting me. If I wanted to beat him, I would have to go full force and probably injure him in the process.

Now I train Ninjutsu (Bujinkan), which does not have any competition at all. Now I don't even talk to much to my friends about my martial arts, but it would be the same thing for me. If i do any "pretend" fights with friends in other arts, I might be at a disadvantage. So I don't.
 

Touch Of Death

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Hi,

I'm relativly new to martial arts, having trained in Karate (shito-ryu) for around 7 or 8 months now. This is my only martial arts experience apart from a few months taking Judo when I was younger. I enjoy my Karate training, but I am looking for some advice from more experienced and seasoned martial artists (of any style or art).

I stared training in Karate almost purely for self defence (i have no interest in competing, not being competitive), but partially because of a lot of my friends being into martial arts. I feel it is important to know how to defend yourself should someone come after you in the street.

I have a friend who has been training in Wing Chun for two years, as well as taking a few classes in BJJ. We have had a few sparring sessions, no 'wing chun vs karate' nonsense, just one of us throwing a few punches and the other using the respective techniques to dispose of the attacker. A fake 'street attack' if you will. What bothers me is that i found it hard to tell when the punches were going to come and where, so i ended up taking a lot of punches (my nose still hurts!). So my question is, how do you guys work on your sparring? how do you improve your reflexes to the point where you can block or trap a punch and successfully hit back without thinking about it?

also, how effective do you think karate is on the street? do you have any stories of when you've had to use it to defend yourself? I know with good training, any art is effective, and no art is superior to another, but i do know that certain arts suit different people better. Wing Chun has this principle of attacking while defending, and defeating your opponent as quickly as possible. most of It's strikes also go through the opponent, something i feel is more effective than Karate's front snap kick, where you quickly pull your leg back. i feel like i can got more power with stepping through with the kick. No art is superior, but if i feel that Wing Chun's principles are more attuned to my reasons for training, should I try some Wing Chun? or is it too early in my Martial Arts 'life' to be making these judgements? (i'm only a green belt in karate). I enjoy my Karate training, but i'm not sure i'll be able to take on two martial arts! (feel free to correct me on any of the principles of karate/wing chun, i'm very new to this game)

Thanks for taking the time to read this!
I hate to break it to you, but action is always faster than reaction. You have to learn to not be where he is punching. :)
 

Blaze Dragon

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I'm relativly new to martial arts, having trained in Karate (shito-ryu) for around 7 or 8 months now. This is my only martial arts experience apart from a few months taking Judo when I was younger. I enjoy my Karate training, but I am looking for some advice from more experienced and seasoned martial artists (of any style or art).
Good for you :) I hope you are enjoying it. Martial arts can be a very rewarding practice if you dedicate time to it.


I stared training in Karate almost purely for self defense (i have no interest in competing, not being competitive), but partially because of a lot of my friends being into martial arts. I feel it is important to know how to defend yourself should someone come after you in the street.
A common reason, that many have also started with martial arts for. However as has been very nicely stated, martial arts in and of it's self is not going to allow you to be able to defend your self. Most of the time a fight will be mostly mental. A street confrontation can go any way. Sometimes words alone will make or break it. Your attitude, the way you hold yourself. Many situations can be diffused before they escalate. You never know when your gonna run into someone with something to prove, or who is a seasoned fighter...However I feel confident in saying that most people will want to avoid a fight and only fight if a last resort or they feel they can win. No body likes to feel someone beat them raw. (I'm sure there are exceptions there always is).

To defend yourself, I recommend fighting classes or even from your sensei that focus in on self defense. You have to train yourself mentally, and yes it can be done. The movements your learning can most definitely aid you. Like was already said they are tools you can and should use. However regardless of martial arts training I really do feel it's all mental. Not sure if I can post my personal videos here but I think I still have my talk about self defense up and can PM it to you.

I have a friend who has been training in Wing Chun for two years, as well as taking a few classes in BJJ. We have had a few sparring sessions, no 'wing chun vs karate' nonsense, just one of us throwing a few punches and the other using the respective techniques to dispose of the attacker. A fake 'street attack' if you will. What bothers me is that i found it hard to tell when the punches were going to come and where, so i ended up taking a lot of punches (my nose still hurts!). So my question is, how do you guys work on your sparring? how do you improve your reflexes to the point where you can block or trap a punch and successfully hit back without thinking about it?

Reflex and reactions can be trained. Repetition and practice will help. The more you spar the more you'll learn to read how your opponent moves. You'll learn to keep your hands in your zone and not over extend your blocks and open yourself up. You'll learn that moving your body is just as important. If you move your body when struck you can reduce the damage your taking and actually create openings to strike.

Personally I recommend drilling. Have one type of punch thrown at you over and over. Make sure it doesn't become repetition, have him pause and wait till you seem relaxed. have your friend throw it and react. train yourself to react. as you start adding new punches it will help your defense. start small, train your body what to do. Over time you'll see a difference in sparring. I also have the personal view that a good offense is the best defense. If you work on combos and get away from one attack at time it CAN help to penetrate defenses. However now we are talking method and everyone and every style has there own. You'll find yours in time.

However BECAREFUL. A lot of people go bare knuckle with no pads...(infact I myself do this) but this can be dangerous. Be safe.

also, how effective do you think karate is on the street? do you have any stories of when you've had to use it to defend yourself? I know with good training, any art is effective, and no art is superior to another, but i do know that certain arts suit different people better. Wing Chun has this principle of attacking while defending, and defeating your opponent as quickly as possible. most of It's strikes also go through the opponent, something i feel is more effective than Karate's front snap kick, where you quickly pull your leg back. i feel like i can got more power with stepping through with the kick. No art is superior, but if i feel that Wing Chun's principles are more attuned to my reasons for training, should I try some Wing Chun? or is it too early in my Martial Arts 'life' to be making these judgements? (i'm only a green belt in karate). I enjoy my Karate training, but i'm not sure i'll be able to take on two martial arts! (feel free to correct me on any of the principles of karate/wing chun, i'm very new to this game)

You said it yourself "I know with good training, any art is effective, and no art is superior to another" yes I feel Karate can be very effective, how you use it and apply your training to your techniques will determine how well it works for you. I would talk with your Sensei.
 
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BradderzH

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Thanks for all the advice guys, I'm overwhelmed if I'm honest! I'll keep all this in mind when I spar next time, and I'll speak to my instructor and get some advice from him too. Thanks again guys :)
 

flo

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Do you know the difference between a decent martial artist and the lesser one?

It's simple. Look at the footwork and balance. The majority of fighting arts focuses on solid plant of the foot (sit into position) to not lose balance. It works well to a certain extend. But it's not catered to reaction/responses.

My art uses more balance in motion, so you "dances" if you are near out of balance. It starves your stamina like nothing else too! In other words, a good martial artist is never thrown out of balance. Never.

About the muscle response/reflex, not all people are build the same. It's pure genetics. You have to keep the bone/muscle structure in mind. A gorilla/elephant will never be agile.

However, physical training will help somewhat. Your muscles have nerve endings connected to the brain. The more you train, the more nerve endings will create. That is the reason why you move more efficient and effortless as time goes by with regular training.

hey, don't give up so easily!
 

Takai

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My art uses more balance in motion, so you "dances" if you are near out of balance. It starves your stamina like nothing else too! In other words, a good martial artist is never thrown out of balance. Never.

Not true. It may be difficult but not impossible. Someone out there will always be better than you, you may misstep or get caught at just "right" time. I would put forward that a good martial artist knows how to recover and respond when their balance is taken away. If they don't then they have a BIG hole in their training methods.
 

wingchun100

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It may be the most annoying answer because most people think there is a magic bullet, but the answer really is as simple as, "Practice. It takes time to get good at these things!
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Hi,

I'm relativly new to martial arts, having trained in Karate (shito-ryu) for around 7 or 8 months now. This is my only martial arts experience apart from a few months taking Judo when I was younger. I enjoy my Karate training, but I am looking for some advice from more experienced and seasoned martial artists (of any style or art).

I stared training in Karate almost purely for self defence (i have no interest in competing, not being competitive), but partially because of a lot of my friends being into martial arts. I feel it is important to know how to defend yourself should someone come after you in the street.

I have a friend who has been training in Wing Chun for two years, as well as taking a few classes in BJJ. We have had a few sparring sessions, no 'wing chun vs karate' nonsense, just one of us throwing a few punches and the other using the respective techniques to dispose of the attacker. A fake 'street attack' if you will. What bothers me is that i found it hard to tell when the punches were going to come and where, so i ended up taking a lot of punches (my nose still hurts!). So my question is, how do you guys work on your sparring? how do you improve your reflexes to the point where you can block or trap a punch and successfully hit back without thinking about it?

also, how effective do you think karate is on the street? do you have any stories of when you've had to use it to defend yourself? I know with good training, any art is effective, and no art is superior to another, but i do know that certain arts suit different people better. Wing Chun has this principle of attacking while defending, and defeating your opponent as quickly as possible. most of It's strikes also go through the opponent, something i feel is more effective than Karate's front snap kick, where you quickly pull your leg back. i feel like i can got more power with stepping through with the kick. No art is superior, but if i feel that Wing Chun's principles are more attuned to my reasons for training, should I try some Wing Chun? or is it too early in my Martial Arts 'life' to be making these judgements? (i'm only a green belt in karate). I enjoy my Karate training, but i'm not sure i'll be able to take on two martial arts! (feel free to correct me on any of the principles of karate/wing chun, i'm very new to this game)

Thanks for taking the time to read this!
Seven to eight months is very new. Consider that a black belt denotes that you've learned the basics and are ready to begin 'real' learning. Even in belt factory type schools, a black belt typically takes more than a year to achieve, and then you're still just a beginner.

During the kyu grades, you are learning the building blocks of your art. Personally, I advise against changing arts just because some play fighting didn't go your way. Remember, you're not in competition with your friend; you're trying to improve your own skills. I'm not sure at what point students in karate begin kumite, but at green belt, you're still just a beginner and should not expect to not be.

Finally, some people are good fighters who happent to fight in a particular style. If they fought in your style, they would still be just as good. Also, different arts have different teaching pedagogy. Not all arts will get you up to speed at the same rate because they place emphasis on different areas. KKW/WTF taekwondo schools tend to have you sparring early on because competitive bouting is an integral part of the art. Other arts pace you differently in order to develop different qualities.

My advice to you is not to be impatient. Also, most every art has a principle of attacking while defending and defeating your opponent as quickly as possible. This is not unique to Wing Chun.
 

donald1

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i been in karate 3 years going on 4 (i don't know as much as some of these other people but I'm sure i can at least give some good advise)

in your karate school do you guys practice kaisai (i think that's how its spelled) where you take forms break them down into moves and add what ifs. like if a form says block with front hand then punch with back hand, that could be changed to block with backfist then punch with same hand (and improvise with what Kata you do, yet make sure you still do form correct way.

if that dosnt help self defense free sparing is another good idea, start off slow then progress speed(while you progress speed make sure your doing the moves as if you could use them in a real fight) this works easier with a real partner but you can do it by your self, my instructor calls it "shadow partner" where you use combinations (almost like there's a real person there)

best of luck!
 
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