Help Deciding Which Martial Art is Best For Me

adpatterson

White Belt
Joined
Mar 22, 2014
Messages
19
Reaction score
17
Hi there I'm new to MA's, I have never tried any martial arts and have watch very little (mainly my brother - he did BJJ for 2 years). I have been familiarizing myself with an overview of the Arts, trying to decide which is best for me. I thought you guys could help, so I made a list of things I want out of a martial art (I know this may mean i need to practice more than one). I have 2 real obstacles. I am obese (6' 3" -- 290 lbs) and I have some spine issues (that will hopefully be much better after 2-3 month of chiropractic care). Other than that I am very dedicated so I can see me getting obsessed with this real easy! So here my list In Order of Importance.


  1. Joint Locks
  2. Throws
  3. quick punching (no interest in kicking)
  4. grappling (no or minimal ground work)

I would like it mostly to be defensive in nature and would love if it had a heavy cardiac component to help me lose pesky weight.

Just to list the martial arts I've seen that I really like to give you an idea what ive been looking at.

  • Aikido
  • ninjutsu
  • aiki-jutsu
  • BJJ
  • Jeet Kune Do
  • jujutsu
  • Hapkido
  • Krav Maga

I know there are off shoots of all these and there are many more MA's I have no clue about. So if you guys could help and maybe even suggest the sub-schools too because I haven't look that in depth yet. Thanks Much in Advance!

Regards,
Aaron Patterson
 

Takai

Senior Master
Joined
Sep 28, 2006
Messages
2,189
Reaction score
73
Location
PNW
You also might want to look into Judo. Despite the lack of atemi (striking) it should meet your requirements and it can be a heck of a workout.

The only reservation I would have is that you said you have some spinal issues. Have you cleared this type of training with your physician?
 

Tony Dismukes

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
5,915
Reaction score
4,494
Location
Lexington, KY
Hey Aaron, I'll start by saying what I always do in these conversations: the best martial art for you is the one you enjoy the most, because that's the one you will actually show up and do the work for. Getting good at a martial art is a long term endeavor and if you aren't enjoying it, you won't stick with it. I'd suggest visiting every local school that offers a free trial class and seeing how much you like each one.

As far as your list of priorities goes, I think you might be missing the point a bit. Joint locks, punches, throws, and such are not ends in themselves. They are means to an end - tools, no more. Think of it this way, which of the following sets of queries makes more sense?

"I'm thinking of taking some trade-oriented classes at the local community college, Which should I pick? My priorities on order of importance are learning the following...
1) Hammer
2) Screwdriver
3) Socket wrench
4) Table saw"

or

"I'm thinking about taking some classes on how to fix some basic things around the house so that I don't have to pay a professional for every little thing that goes wrong. Will I get more bang for my buck by starting out with an intro to carpentry, plumbing, or auto repair?"

Likewise, you may get more out of your original query by deciding what you really want out of martial arts practice. Are you wanting a competitive sport? Basic skills in winning a street fight? Tools to help in your job as a bouncer? A feeling of connection to an historical tradition? Physical fitness? Something else?

It's possible that you don't know exactly and just have an attraction to the general idea of "martial arts". In that case, showing up and trying the different classes that are available may clarify your goals.

Your weight and spinal problems may or may not be a major stumbling block in the beginning depending on how the individual instructor works with students who have physical limitations. For example: aikido, ninjutsu, and aiki-jutsu all involve lots of falling and rolling. That may be much harder (and more painful) for you in the beginning than for the average student. Some instructors will spend the extra time working with you to help you get past that difficulty safely. Others will just expect you to keep up as best you can. Once again, visiting different schools and getting a feel for the available instruction is advisable.

Good luck!
 
Last edited:
OP
adpatterson

adpatterson

White Belt
Joined
Mar 22, 2014
Messages
19
Reaction score
17
Have you cleared this type of training with your physician?
I talked to him on Friday and we've decide to get my spine back in good shape before starting and MA's. He feels in a couple of months I'll be good as new :)

As far as your list of priorities goes, I think you might be missing the point a bit. Joint locks, punches, throws, and such are not ends in themselves. They are means to an end - tools, no more.
I fully understand you point. but the things that draw me to the sport are the joint locks, pressure points, etc. I find it fascinating because I love human anatomy!

Are you wanting a competitive sport?
Just to be competitive with myself. All though I know belts and ranking me nothing (for the most part) I do like having a goal and something to shoot for. If not I typically get bored with things. So the competitive part would be on challenging myself to improve/rank. I lost many good years of my life to disappointments in competitive sports, I'm not about to do it again.

Basic skills in winning a street fight?
I'm a pretty big guy, always have been, I'm not one that has ever been picked on if you know what I mean. Yes it would be nice to win a street fight if needed, but I honestly have never been bullied

A feeling of connection to an historical tradition?
Somewhat. I have always been enamored by the Asian culture. After a few classes in college on Asian cultures, Samurai, etc. I have a wonderful respect for it and a semi "crush" on the Samurai lifestyle.

Physical fitness?
Absolutely. I am a nutrition major and want to be in the field of nutrition for the rest of my life, but how many people do you think would go for nutrition advice from a 300lb man? I gotta lose weight, I'm having other health issues as well.

Something else?
The two things that drew me to MA's were watching Royce Gracie, destroy people 2-3x his size in his prime and recently I have been very attractive to Aikido and love the more "combative" (for lack of a better term) styles such as what Steven Seagal has taught. The only MA's ive watched in person are my kids and brother doing BJJ and I watched one Adult Aikido class last week.

I very much like the more defensive arts that focus on not hurting the other opponent (but would love a splash of offense for those just in case moments, lol)

For example: aikido, ninjutsu, and aiki-jutsu all involve lots of falling and rolling. That may be much harder (and more painful) for you in the beginning than for the average student.
AMEN brother, The Aikido class I watched the other night each student hit the floor about 60-80 time in the hour I was there. I'm a bit scared about being able to go to work the next day LOL! but again, as you noticed in my list, those are the things I'm more drawn to.

Good luck!
Thank you kind sir!
 

K-man

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
6,193
Reaction score
1,221
Location
Australia
Tony has covered pretty much all that one could say. From your wish list I could possibly cross off Krav and BJJ. They really don't fit your bill.

Aikido and Hapkido are similar with one being Japanese and the other Korean. Also Aiki-jutsu and Jujutsu are from the same mould and as you understand, you spend a lot of time picking yourself up off the floor. :) As an Aikido student I can highly recommend it and from your list I think it covers your boxes.

Joint locks ... a small number of effective locks taught and trained until they work fluidly.
Throws ... we only have one 'real' throw over the hip. The rest are more falls where the attacker just goes to the ground. What you see in the videos of people flying in all directions are not throws but an exercise in blending with the other person's energy. In reality it is very difficult to roll out of the techniques.
Quick punches ... we don't do a lot of punching. We practise hou to punch very effectively but not destructively although you could do it that way if you really wanted to. The punches are used within the other techniques and a good teacher will be demonstrating the atemi (strike) as he demonstrates a technique. The better you become at aikido the less you need the strike.
Grappling with minimal ground work ... most of our training starts from gripping. That is not to say that we expect people to just grab you if they want to fight you. It is just another training methodology to train against a resisting attack. In most instances your partner ends up on the ground but you remain standing. There are some restraints where you hold your partner on the ground but no grappling as such. For what it's worth, if you do go to the ground, with limited ground skills I have had no problems rolling with grapplers using aikido principles.

Major thing against aikido, and against many of your other choices as well with your back, is the rolling on the ground. The best part is when you learn to roll properly the roll is minimal effort. Take downs are a bit different and you need to be able to breakfall competently. Having said that, a good instructor can work around injuries. We do it all the time, particularly with elbows and shoulders.

If you should happen to end up with aikido, there are numerous styles. Rather than discussing them here, I would suggest if aikido is your choice, PM me and we could discuss that further.
:asian:
 
OP
adpatterson

adpatterson

White Belt
Joined
Mar 22, 2014
Messages
19
Reaction score
17
Thanks K-Man I sent you a PM. I should have mentioned to the group that my wife and I are going to do this together some. So I wanted to find and art she would enjoy too. She is a little scared about hitting the mat so many times herself. She did some kickboxing classes when she was younger but just a few times, but she did like it. I can't get her to do her homework on it, so im doing it for the both of us!

I would also assume that proximity to my home would mean something, its easier to say no when you have to drive forever to get there. I live in Northern Raleigh, NC area. If anyone knows anything good about the area let me know :)
 

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
20,528
Reaction score
5,429
Box and wrestle.

A lot of what you want is sort of half the elements of a martial art. Punching but no kicking grappling but no groundwork. You will probably find you will just have to nut through the bits you don't want to do.

Mma coveres a lot of your bases at once but you will be disadvantaged if you don't kick or ground fight.

As far as standing joint locks go. They are really low percentage. The best way to apply them is to be really dominant in standing grappling. A good standing grappling system will cover that as well as arm isolation. And from there you could just bolt on the arm lock into the system.

Which is pretty much what I do.
 

billc

Grandmaster
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2007
Messages
9,183
Reaction score
85
Location
somewhere near Lake Michigan
If you want an art that does all of those things and is pretty tough...try Chinese Shuai jiao, Chinese Wrestling. Look it up on youtube, it looks slightly like judo but in the application of the art it is completely different and it is pretty brutal. I think it meets all of your points on what you want out of an art. As to finding it...that may be a challenge...
 

Reedone816

Blue Belt
Joined
Apr 27, 2014
Messages
291
Reaction score
66
Location
Indonesia
Just IMHO, all four you can have it in silat in some degree. Unfortunately finding the right teacher is like finding needle in a haystack, but if you find one it really Worth it. What lack is probably the competition, since the traditional school usually not participating in sport competition.
You can try inosanto kali and silat training, for modern training with self defense still intact.

Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk
 

Lightning Ram

Yellow Belt
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
25
Reaction score
2
Location
Olympia, WA
Aaron, some good suggestions here, I would recommend looking at Kenpo Karate, some instructors have incorporated joint locks in to this style, there are a lot of leg sweeps hip throws, fast punching and striking. And some have added grappling to the art. If you decide to try Kenpo and have some instructors in your area check them all out first, then decide whats works for you. If you have any question PM me.

Clay
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
13,615
Reaction score
3,098
Location
San Francisco
I would also assume that proximity to my home would mean something, its easier to say no when you have to drive forever to get there. I live in Northern Raleigh, NC area. If anyone knows anything good about the area let me know :)

bingo. what is available nearby, and go from there.
 

Brian King

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
MT Mentor
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Messages
1,587
Reaction score
458
Location
Bellevue, Washington USA
“I would also assume that proximity to my home would mean something, its easier to say no when you have to drive forever to get there. I live in Northern Raleigh, NC area. If anyone knows anything good about the area let me know”


A good friend of mine teaches Systema in that area. Glenn is a great guy that I can recommend without any hesitation. I think that you and your wife would enjoy the training and the work.
NC Systema - Russian Martial Art NC/


That said, no matter where you and your wife end up training, understand that both of you are gold for a martial arts school/dojo. Both of you have a lot to offer any school. For example- Big guys are rare and great to train with. Women, depending on the art, are also rarer than men, and worth their weight in gold for training opportunities. Find a school that both of you enjoy (even if the reasons for the enjoyment are different). Find the instructor that you both like and the students that you both want to be around. This is more important than which specific art. Good luck with your search and good luck with the journey.


Regards
Brian King
 

oftheherd1

Senior Master
Joined
May 12, 2011
Messages
4,685
Reaction score
817


A good friend of mine teaches Systema in that area. Glenn is a great guy that I can recommend without any hesitation. I think that you and your wife would enjoy the training and the work.
NC Systema - Russian Martial Art NC/


That said, no matter where you and your wife end up training, understand that both of you are gold for a martial arts school/dojo. Both of you have a lot to offer any school. For example- Big guys are rare and great to train with. Women, depending on the art, are also rarer than men, and worth their weight in gold for training opportunities. Find a school that both of you enjoy (even if the reasons for the enjoyment are different). Find the instructor that you both like and the students that you both want to be around. This is more important than which specific art. Good luck with your search and good luck with the journey.


Regards
Brian King

I have found that especially true for Hapkido. I don't know why for sure. I have wondered if it has to do with the aggressive manner of the techniques, that is, the damage they do, and the touching that occurs, as it must. If you want to learn how to defend against a chest grab, you will have to be grabbed on the chest. That requires a woman to bunch up her uniform for chest grabs. To have it more realistic will subject her to discomfort of being grabbed in ways she would normally object to. Some moves will have her touch an opponent's body (or vice versa) in ways she may find uncomfortable. As in Aikido, learning break falls to prevent injury are important. One must flow into a defense being applied or risk injury.

If those things can be overcome, Hapkido, as well as Aikido, are both good arts. Never having been an Aikodo student, my impression is that Aikido is a little less aggressive, being satisfied to throw a person around until the get tired and decide to quit. Aikido practioners please correct me if I am wrong.
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
18,485
Reaction score
4,076
Location
Covington, WA
My vote would be judo, and regardless of where you are, I'd bet that there is a good judo club near you.
 

cqbspartan

White Belt
Joined
Dec 20, 2007
Messages
18
Reaction score
0
Krav Maga or Jeet Kune Do are a great place to start...Krav Maga trains in a variety of street attacks...after that it depends on what your interests are...striking arts, throwing arts, groundwork??
Purely defensive arts like Judo and Aikido have no strikes per se and are both throwing arts...
Do you want hard style like Karate, Tae Kwon Do or softer styles like Tai Chi??
Or do you want to focus on something that is a blend of some of these aspects??
Jeet Kune Do was Bruce Lee's creation and is a blend of sorts, with a foundation in Wing Chun but combines that with 25 other systems, and striving to train in a variety of drills and for a variety of attacks...
Western boxing and Muay Thai(brutally effective and tough conditioning) are a good place to start as well...so in considering an art I would say first try to determine which direction you would like to go as far as your training is concerned...
Do you want mainly street defense, striking arts, throwing arts, ground work and so on??
Wing Chun, Filipino arts, some Indonesian Silat systems use fine motor skills...very effective and quick systems...
 
Top