Help me choose a MA!

Konrad

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Hello to all you good folk of martial arts. I have come here to ask of an advice that'll determine what martial arts shall I train. But first of all, to provide some information about myself that'll help in this advice-giving affair. I'm 18 y/o, 5'3" (160 cm) and 130 lbs (59 kg). I also wear glasses (my diopter is -2.5), so that needs to be put in consideration as well so I can choose a MA where I'm not in a huge disadvantage when it comes to sight. My only experience with MA was training karate for a couple of years.

I have befallen into a serious dilemma while considering what MA to train. I understand there is a certain criteria to each and every one, and I shall overlay what I seek from such an art, from the most important to least important factors for myself:
  • Stature and weight not being a factor, but only determination and strength
  • Achieving both physical and mental feats, those manifesting in an improved health and self-confidence, a heightened fitness and strength
  • Being able to apply the learnt materia in untimely events, such as an attack on my person
  • Encompassing both hand-to-hand combat and weapon usage, most preferably the sword and/or staff
  • Kata practice available both in solo and in pair
  • Often duels between trainees
This listing needn't be taken in the full while considering a sport for myself, but these are my wishes after all. Through browsing the Internet and of some already given advice, I have narrowed the choice on the following martial arts:

aikido, jujutsu, wing chun, kendo and hapkido.

I'd be most obliged if you'd take the time and explain what would I achieve in each of these arts and to tell me in short the how's and what's of their training. Got any other martial arts to suggest? Then please so (but says your reasons please)! Or maybe some questions about myself that'll help in determing what MA is ideal for me? Ask them freely. :)

However, from the articles I have read and videos I have seen, the two martial arts that I like the most at the moment are aikido and kendo.

Thank you in advance!
 

Cyriacus

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Alrighty Good Sir.

Hello to all you good folk of martial arts.

Greetings!

I have come here to ask of an advice that'll determine what martial arts shall I train. But first of all, to provide some information about myself that'll help in this advice-giving affair. I'm 18 y/o, 5'3" (160 cm) and 130 lbs (59 kg). I also wear glasses (my diopter is -2.5), so that needs to be put in consideration as well

...No. No it does not.

so I can choose a MA where I'm not in a huge disadvantage when it comes to sight.

Wouldnt Happen. Trust Me.

My only experience with MA was training karate for a couple of years.

If You had any Height Issues from when You did that, They were just being Impartial. Dont Dwell.

I have befallen into a serious dilemma while considering what MA to train. I understand there is a certain criteria to each and every one,

Where are You getting Your Information :)

and I shall overlay what I seek from such an art, from the most important to least important factors for myself:
  • Stature and weight not being a factor, but only determination and strength
Easy.

  • Achieving both physical and mental feats, those manifesting in an improved health and self-confidence, a heightened fitness and strength
I wouldnt List that as a Factor - Punching a Brick Wall until You stop Hurting Your Knuckles and Jogging will do that. You also get it from Martial Arts. It isnt a Factor, because ALL Martial Arts will do that, Good or Bad.

  • Being able to apply the learnt materia in untimely events, such as an attack on my person
Good Factor.

  • Encompassing both hand-to-hand combat and weapon usage, most preferably the sword and/or staff
This can be Tricky. Crosstraining or a Karate System might Work best. Or otherwise Japanese.

  • Kata practice available both in solo and in pair
Thats and Odd Factor, since practically ALL Martial Arts have Katas. Or Patterns. Or What-have-you.

  • Often duels between trainees
Duels? :D
Sparring, My Good Man. Sparring. Not Dueling.

This listing needn't be taken in the full while considering a sport for myself, but these are my wishes after all. Through browsing the Internet and of some already given advice, I have narrowed the choice on the following martial arts:

aikido, jujutsu, wing chun, kendo and hapkido.

I'd be most obliged if you'd take the time and explain what would I achieve in each of these arts and to tell me in short the how's and what's of their training. Got any other martial arts to suggest? Then please so (but says your reasons please)! Or maybe some questions about myself that'll help in determing what MA is ideal for me? Ask them freely. :)

Aikido: Redirecting an Opponents Force in order to Nullify their Attack. Mostly Grappling.
Jujutsu comes in many Flavors. It can be Mostly Grappling, Mostly Striking, or a Blend. Id need more Information.
Wing Chun: Fast, Relaxed Striking, with an Emphasis on Angles and Centerline. I.e., Aim at the Center. It uses Short Movements.
Kendo is a Sword Art, so to Speak. It doesnt exactly sound like what Youre looking for. It WOULD be good for You to Crosstrain in though, so You got the Weapon Aspect.
Hapkido: Mostly Grappling and Anti-Grappling with some Strikes Blended in.
Now, Im not a Walking Encyclopedia. Id Advise asking more Specific Questions.

However, from the articles I have read and videos I have seen, the two martial arts that I like the most at the moment are aikido and kendo.

If You did Both, assuming You liked their Methodologies, itd Work, for what You want.
If You only did One, You wouldnt be Fulfilling all Your Parameters. Feel Free to Reconsider those :)

Thank you in advance!

From what i can see, if You could find a Jujutsu Form that did Grappling AND Striking together, itd Work for You. I think some use Weapons also.
That said, since You seem convinced Your Height is somehow a Factor in the slightest, Youd probably like Wing Chun, for their Application and Training Methodology/Idealogy.

Kendo is an Odd Choice for what You want, since it only Fulfils one or two Paramaters. Aikido is perhaps a bit more fulfilling in that regard.

Anything else?
 

SuperFLY

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Kendo is an Odd Choice for what You want, since it only Fulfils one or two Paramaters. Aikido is perhaps a bit more fulfilling in that regard.
expanding on that, Aikido normally also includes some iaido or sword training as part of it (helps train you to concentrate on your center and use the circular motion) as well as some other weapons techniques and defence so would help satisfy some more of your criteria.

make no mistake though, Aikido is NOT a striking art so if you did karate and want more of the same it couldnt be further apart. that said its a great art and a useful addition to my existing karate training :) (i do both)
 

Tez3

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The cost has to be taken into consideration if you want to do kendo, my other half looked into doing it but even with second hand gear it cost too much.

Before deciding what style you want to do and finding out no one does it near enough to you, find out whats' available to you locally. The style is far less important than finding a sympathetic place to train where you get on well with the instructors who you feel are trustworthy and you can learn from them. Being taller or shorter and wearing glasses means very little to be honest and is unlikely to debar you from any style.

So your first job is to find out what's available to you, check them all out, pick which one suits you, don't sign any contracts then train hard and enjoy.
 

jks9199

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Have you looked at what is available to you in your area? It's useless to somehow determine that Ultimate Ninja MMA Maga Do is the best art for you -- if the only place it's taught is in Antarctica, and you can't relocate.

The rest of it? Just things you'll have to learn to work with anyway, just like you do in day-to-day life.

Look at the schools available to you. See which ones seem like places and people you want to train with. See which teachers impress you with their knowledge and teaching style. Will the class schedule work with your other obligations? Can you afford it? Visit several schools, and go from there.
 
OP
Konrad

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Thank you for all your replies! It helped me clear out some misunderstandings I had about martial arts and to get a clearer picture of what I want and need. And yes, all of the martial arts I mentioned are available in my area. With some further research and consideration, I have narrowed the choice down to three martial arts, and those are aikido, hapkido and kendo. What I now must do is to attend the dojos and finally decide what MA to undertake.

What I like with aikido is that is a highly defensive art, and is considerate of the well-being of the attacker as well, although it is amiss in strike attacks. Whereas it is that the latest department is very prevalent in hapkido. A new dilemma arises... heh.

I do wonder though how realistic it would be to cross-train, and exactly what. But right now I'm thinking aikido and kendo would the thing.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Hello to all you good folk of martial arts. I have come here to ask of an advice that'll determine what martial arts shall I train. But first of all, to provide some information about myself that'll help in this advice-giving affair. I'm 18 y/o, 5'3" (160 cm) and 130 lbs (59 kg). I also wear glasses (my diopter is -2.5), so that needs to be put in consideration as well so I can choose a MA where I'm not in a huge disadvantage when it comes to sight. My only experience with MA was training karate for a couple of years.

I have befallen into a serious dilemma while considering what MA to train. I understand there is a certain criteria to each and every one, and I shall overlay what I seek from such an art, from the most important to least important factors for myself:
  • Stature and weight not being a factor, but only determination and strength
  • Achieving both physical and mental feats, those manifesting in an improved health and self-confidence, a heightened fitness and strength
  • Being able to apply the learnt materia in untimely events, such as an attack on my person
  • Encompassing both hand-to-hand combat and weapon usage, most preferably the sword and/or staff
  • Kata practice available both in solo and in pair
  • Often duels between trainees
This listing needn't be taken in the full while considering a sport for myself, but these are my wishes after all. Through browsing the Internet and of some already given advice, I have narrowed the choice on the following martial arts:

aikido, jujutsu, wing chun, kendo and hapkido.

I'd be most obliged if you'd take the time and explain what would I achieve in each of these arts and to tell me in short the how's and what's of their training. Got any other martial arts to suggest? Then please so (but says your reasons please)! Or maybe some questions about myself that'll help in determing what MA is ideal for me? Ask them freely. :)

However, from the articles I have read and videos I have seen, the two martial arts that I like the most at the moment are aikido and kendo.

Thank you in advance!

If I may be so outre as to recommend one of my own posts...

http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?98286-For-Beginners-The-Best-Martial-Art-of-All
 

Cyriacus

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Thank you for all your replies! It helped me clear out some misunderstandings I had about martial arts and to get a clearer picture of what I want and need. And yes, all of the martial arts I mentioned are available in my area. With some further research and consideration, I have narrowed the choice down to three martial arts, and those are aikido, hapkido and kendo. What I now must do is to attend the dojos and finally decide what MA to undertake.

What I like with aikido is that is a highly defensive art, and is considerate of the well-being of the attacker as well, although it is amiss in strike attacks. Whereas it is that the latest department is very prevalent in hapkido. A new dilemma arises... heh.

I do wonder though how realistic it would be to cross-train, and exactly what. But right now I'm thinking aikido and kendo would the thing.
Crosstraining is Realistic.
Alot of Us do it. Its Common.
Aikido is only considerate of Your Opponent in Training. In Application, if Your Opponent doesnt move WITH the Manipulation, it will Harm them. It only looks like Youre being Careful.
Hapkido comes in 2-3 Flavors as well.

So Yeah, go Spectate.
 

Sanke

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What I like with aikido is that is a highly defensive art, and is considerate of the well-being of the attacker as well

Sorry, but as has been said, you couldn't be more wrong :p Aikido is designed so that when the attacker doesn't know how to react to a defense, it hurts them. Quite badly.
That's half the fun ;) but to be honest, I thought that too when I first looked at it, so I get the feeling it's a common mistake :)




Sanke on the move.
 

SuperFLY

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aye the considerate part is mainly on the uke's (the person the technique is being done to) side. if they dont know how to ukemi/fall properly then it'll hurt. obviously when training you go slower and dont crank on a technique but its still effective.

should point out as well that although Aikido is not a striking art strikes do get introduced as a way of distracting and of course injuring your assailant. a shot in the groin doing a kaitenage is common or a kick to the knee when doing a nikkyo to help gauge distance and weaken their stance for example and a lot of 2nd form techniques start with a strike to bring your free hand into play but as you say it is a defensive art and primarily used for defence and control. how much you hurt your uke is up to you and if trained, up to them too.

quite often when training our instructors say 'if you (as an uke) get hurt its your fault but if your nage hurts you remember its your turn next' :D heh
 

Chris Parker

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Right, I'm going to weigh in here, there are a few things that seem to need some clarification.

To begin with, I'll take Cyriacus' answers to the initial post, then look at a few others....

Hello to all you good folk of martial arts.

Greetings!

And welcome aboard from me.

I have come here to ask of an advice that'll determine what martial arts shall I train. But first of all, to provide some information about myself that'll help in this advice-giving affair. I'm 18 y/o, 5'3" (160 cm) and 130 lbs (59 kg). I also wear glasses (my diopter is -2.5), so that needs to be put in consideration as well

...No. No it does not.

Cyriacus is absolutely correct here, none of that really means a thing, honestly. The only times that size/weight comes into it is in competition, and in that case you are matched up with other competitors of roughly equal size.

I will note, though, that probably the only physical trait that may have some real bearing isn't mentioned... what gender are you? The physical dimensions you provide could honestly be either...

so I can choose a MA where I'm not in a huge disadvantage when it comes to sight.

Wouldnt Happen. Trust Me.

Now, to be fair, it would probably rule out Kyudo (Japanese archery). Although, in many forms it's not about getting a bullseye, or even hitting the target, it's about the mindset at the point of release. So maybe not.

My only experience with MA was training karate for a couple of years.

If You had any Height Issues from when You did that, They were just being Impartial. Dont Dwell.

Okay, here's where we start to get to something useful. What did you like, or not like about the Karate you trained in? That's probably the best place to start.

I have befallen into a serious dilemma while considering what MA to train. I understand there is a certain criteria to each and every one,

Where are You getting Your Information :)

Ha, what Cyriacus is getting at here is that, while certain arts will have preferences, there really isn't anything like actual criteria for any art, other than the willingness to train and learn.

and I shall overlay what I seek from such an art, from the most important to least important factors for myself:
  • Stature and weight not being a factor, but only determination and strength

I wouldn't look too hard at the idea of strength being a factor, you'll find that most systems try to avoid relying on that, as there is always someone stronger.

  • Achieving both physical and mental feats, those manifesting in an improved health and self-confidence, a heightened fitness and strength
I wouldnt List that as a Factor - Punching a Brick Wall until You stop Hurting Your Knuckles and Jogging will do that. You also get it from Martial Arts. It isnt a Factor, because ALL Martial Arts will do that, Good or Bad.

Yeah, this is rather vague and meaningless, honestly. It's almost like saying you want a martial arts experience that lets you do things, probably things you haven't done before, so you can be more confident about doing things.... uh, okay. Well, that's all of them. The question is, what are you wanting to be able to do?

  • Being able to apply the learnt materia in untimely events, such as an attack on my person
Good Factor.

I'm going to be frank here, and probably burst a bubble or two.

No martial art on the planet is designed with self defence in mind in the modern context. In fact, none ever have been. So the idea of learning a martial art for self defence, to be completely frank, is actually fairly counter-productive, at least to begin with, even though that's why a great number of people start. That said, martial arts can form the basis of a self defence ability and skill set, and the applicability of what you learn to a self defence scenario will be more to do with the instructor and the way the system is trained than what exact system it is.

  • Encompassing both hand-to-hand combat and weapon usage, most preferably the sword and/or staff
This can be Tricky. Crosstraining or a Karate System might Work best. Or otherwise Japanese.

So you know, you've just gone in the opposite direction to your last criteria. You've basically just said that you want something that is designed to handle modern violence, then that you want it to have traditional weaponry components to it as well. That's not an easy thing to find... in fact, I can only think of one place that I know of that deals specifically with that exact situation, after being around for near onto two and a half decades in this. Most traditional schools don't get the disconnect between traditional methods and modern violence, and a system designed and primarily concerned with modern violence will, quite rightly, say that weapons such as swords and staves have no place in a modern system.

Oh, and that one place separates the modern and the traditional into completely separate areas of study and training, even within the one class. They are simply that different.

  • Kata practice available both in solo and in pair
Thats and Odd Factor, since practically ALL Martial Arts have Katas. Or Patterns. Or What-have-you.

Okay, if your only other experience is in Karate, then you probably are referring to the Okinawan/Chinese approach to the concept of kata training, which is a sequence of movements trained solo. That is a common training device in such systems, but not universally used. The Japanese form of kata training is more often a paired form, and much shorter, similar to what many systems would simply refer to as a "technique" (in other words, an attack and a defence). In the main, you'd need to pick which form appeals to you more... but I would also say that this is of the least consequence. While a certain training method may appeal more than another, if you choose to learn a system, you have chosen to learn it. That includes it's methods of training, whether you like them or not. Now, if you don't like the long string of solo movements, then Karate and TKD systems won't be something you'd enjoy... so I wouldn't look to them. But if you do like the Karate systems, that means that you will need to embrace the training methods employed, no matter your personal take on them.

  • Often duels between trainees
Duels? :D
Sparring, My Good Man. Sparring. Not Dueling.

Probably the best thing to ask in regard to all of these requirements, or preferences, is why? Some systems won't "spar" at all, for their own reasons, others will feature it quite heavily, and then you have the systems that fit in anywhere in between. So the question is, what does sparring mean to you? Why is it considered important that it is part of the training?

This listing needn't be taken in the full while considering a sport for myself, but these are my wishes after all. Through browsing the Internet and of some already given advice, I have narrowed the choice on the following martial arts:

aikido
, jujutsu, wing chun, kendo and hapkido.

I'd be most obliged if you'd take the time and explain what would I achieve in each of these arts and to tell me in short the how's and what's of their training. Got any other martial arts to suggest? Then please so (but says your reasons please)! Or maybe some questions about myself that'll help in determing what MA is ideal for me? Ask them freely. :)

Explaining these arts isn't easy, as the only way to really know anything about them is to experience them. Cyriacus has made a good start on it, and I'll expand it slightly here, but bear in mind the only way to really have any understanding, no matter how detailed the answers you get are, is to get some experience in them.

Aikido: Redirecting an Opponents Force in order to Nullify their Attack. Mostly Grappling.
Aikido is a modern system developed in the 1930's and 40's (pre- and post-WWII) with it's basis coming from Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu as well as a range of other systems, including weaponry systems, such as Yagyu Shinkage Ryu and Kukishin Ryu. It is primarily a system of various joint locks and controls, with throws as well (often as extensions of the joint locks), it's primary movement is circular, and has the philosophy of not meeting force with force, instead having the ideal of harmonising with the attackers incoming energy/momentum. A beautiful, flowing art, it can take a while to get competant at applying the technical methods in real time.

There are a range of branches of Aikido, such as the Yoshinkan, who were headed by Gozo Shioda, a senior student of Ueshiba Morihei, the founder of Aikido, and who left Ueshiba Sensei prior to WWII, feeling that the art was becoming too "soft". At the time, the primary dojo for Ueshiba was nicknamed the Jigoku Dojo ("Hell" Dojo) for the amount of pain endured by the students practicing there. In the 70's Kenji Tomiki founded his own form (Tomiki Aikido, also known as Shodokan), which is unique in that it has a form of competition, and knife work. The "main" line, the group that remains in the Ueshiba family, is known as Iwama Ryu, or Takemusu. This is sometimes considered the most "complete" form, and includes a weaponry component of AikiKen (sword) and AikiJo (four foot staff). It should be noted, though, that this is not the same as learning the weapons, it is more a way of expressing the Aiki (harmonising energy) concepts of the system with the weapons.
Jujutsu comes in many Flavors. It can be Mostly Grappling, Mostly Striking, or a Blend. Id need more Information.
Ah, Jujutsu. Realistically, it is both a specialised and a general term, depending on the context. As a general term, it refers to Japanese unarmed or lightly armed combative methods, and systems such as Aikido, Judo etc are really a form of Jujutsu when it all comes down to it. Due to the Japanese prevalence for grappling over striking, most Jujutsu systems will have a focus on throwing, or locks and pins, although some do have a heavy focus on striking as well, and a number of them have either overt or implied use of a range of small weapons (such as daggers of various forms, short swords, jutte etc). Additionally, it can be used to refer to a range of Japanese sourced, or inspired modern systems, often with the mis-spelling of "Jiu Jitsu" or similar. These systems include Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (originally based on early Judo, with a high emphasis on ground fighting), Small Circle Jiu Jitsu (a modern system developed in the 60's/70's by the late Wally Jay, based on Japanese methods), Can Ryu, Saduces Ryu, and more.

As a specialist term, it refers to a specific section of a particular schools syllabus, and the exact usage and definition is determined by the system itself. There is also a wide range of other specialist terms used in a variety of systems to refer to their Jujutsu and Jujutsu-related, or Jujutsu-like systems, such as Hade, Te, Yawara, Yawaragei, Wa, Wajutsu, Judo, Goho, Taijutsu, Kogusoku, Koshi no Mawari, Torite, and more. Typically these terms are found in the older traditional Japanese schools (Koryu).
Wing Chun: Fast, Relaxed Striking, with an Emphasis on Angles and Centerline. I.e., Aim at the Center. It uses Short Movements.
Wing Chun is almost unique amongst martial arts in that it is said to have been developed by a woman, a nun Ng Mui, as a practical, easy to learn, principle based system that doesn't rely on muscular strength, instead looking to overwhelm with a barrage attack. The training methods are based more in the application of principles, rather than a formal collection of techniques (there are three forms taught, and a few drilling methods that are pretty well universal in Wing Chun schools, but techniques and technical application can vary quite broadly). Some of those principles include guarding the centre line, and the shortest distance being a straight line. It is known for it's sensitivity drills (Chi Sao), and it's handwork, although there is some grappling applications (referred to as "trapping"), and some kicks, it's primary range is hands. Some schools will also teach a pole (staff) weapon, as well as Butterfly Swords (Bat Charn Dao).
Kendo is a Sword Art, so to Speak. It doesnt exactly sound like what Youre looking for. It WOULD be good for You to Crosstrain in though, so You got the Weapon Aspect.
Kendo, ah. Kendo is a modern sporting approach to sword methods, and isn't really swordsmanship in regard to learning to use a sword. There are a range of reasons for this, including the targets allowed in contests, the emphasis on striking rather than cutting, and so on. While lots of fun, there are better things to train in if you are after actually learning to use a sword.
Hapkido: Mostly Grappling and Anti-Grappling with some Strikes Blended in.
Now, Im not a Walking Encyclopedia. Id Advise asking more Specific Questions.

Like Aikido, Hapkido comes from Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu, although not as complete an understanding of it. It is then combined with the Korean prevalence for kicking techniques, as well as having a higher emphasis on striking than Aikido does in general. The range of Hapkido schools and approaches covers quite a degree as well, with some being more skewed towards the joint locks and throws, and others being almost Tae Kwon Do with some grappling thrown in.

However, from the articles I have read and videos I have seen, the two martial arts that I like the most at the moment are aikido and kendo.

If You did Both, assuming You liked their Methodologies, itd Work, for what You want.
If You only did One, You wouldnt be Fulfilling all Your Parameters. Feel Free to Reconsider those :)

Right. Cross-training. I'm really not a fan of it at all, particularly not in the early stages of training. It's just too easy to get confused, which can lead to a much longer journey before any real progress is made, or, worst case scenario, a lot of wasted time with one being basically discarded. I'd look more for something that covers as much as possible, or narrow down what you're looking for.

But, from the list we have or needs and systems, Aikido (Takemusu/Iwama Ryu) will give you unarmed methods, as well as some use of sword and staff, but will be missing sparring (although there is a form of randori, free form training, that is employed) and striking to a great degree.

Wing Chun, depending on the school, will give you the bladed and staff weaponry, as well as a striking heavy unarmed system.

The various Ninjutsu organisations will give you quite a range of unarmed and weaponry methods, although the street defence side of things will vary wildly, with the Jinenkan having pretty much no focus on it, the Genbukan having their own form, and the Bujinkan being terrible, or great, or anywhere inbetween, depending on the instructor.

If you're after cross-training, then I'd probably go for something like BJJ (as you mentioned fitness, and that, as well as sparring, referred to as "rolling" with them, is a big emphasis), and then add a traditional Japanese weapon school, either Iaido (sword drawing methods), or Jodo (staff fighting, where you also learn sword as the "attacker").

expanding on that, Aikido normally also includes some iaido or sword training as part of it (helps train you to concentrate on your center and use the circular motion) as well as some other weapons techniques and defence so would help satisfy some more of your criteria.

make no mistake though, Aikido is NOT a striking art so if you did karate and want more of the same it couldnt be further apart. that said its a great art and a useful addition to my existing karate training :) (i do both)

Just to clarify, only the Iwama Ryu/Takemusu have any sword methods within their system, and it is not the same as learning swordsmanship. Additionally, no Aikido system has any Iai in it whatsoever, with any dojo that offers it having brought it in from outside.

Crosstraining is Realistic.
Alot of Us do it. Its Common.
Aikido is only considerate of Your Opponent in Training. In Application, if Your Opponent doesnt move WITH the Manipulation, it will Harm them. It only looks like Youre being Careful.
Hapkido comes in 2-3 Flavors as well.

So Yeah, go Spectate.

As I said, I'm not fond of cross-training. Once skill and understanding in your base system is gained and established, it can have a place, but initially it's just not a good idea.

Sorry, but as has been said, you couldn't be more wrong :p Aikido is designed so that when the attacker doesn't know how to react to a defense, it hurts them. Quite badly.
That's half the fun ;) but to be honest, I thought that too when I first looked at it, so I get the feeling it's a common mistake :)

Sanke on the move.

One of the base philosophies of Aikido, particularly the post-WWII forms (such as Takemusu/Iwama Ryu) is that no undue injury is caused to the attacker. It should be noted that that does not mean that no injury is caused, just that care is taken to not have injury caused where it is not absolutely required. This comes, to a fair degree, from Ueshiba Sensei's further immersion in a particular sect of Shinto (Omoto Kyo, which some have referred to as a cult), as well as his early studies in Shingon Buddhism. The aim for a lot of Aikido is to immobilise an attacker without causing undue harm, and certainly without killing or permanent injury or maiming. In that way, Aikido is rather considerate to the attacker... far more than other systems are, anyway!

Ah, almost forgot to say this part.

The two best pieces of advice in this thread are Bill's reference to his thread, and JKS's comments about finding out about what is nearby yourself first. Read Bill's thread a few times.... and then look around to see what is nearby for yourself. Visit as many places as you can, and see what "speaks" to you. The right instructor and the right school, with an atmosphere you feel comfortable in, and an instructor you trust, is far more important than the system you study.

All the best with it all.
 
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rainesr

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You might consider Wado-Ryu if it is in your area. It is a blend of Shotokan Karate and Japanese Jujutsu. Wado-Ryu has both the longer Okinawan/Chinese style Kata and the Japanese paired Kata Mr. Parker mentioned.

If you have poor eyesight, styles that are up close and personal like Japenese Jujutsu, Aikido, Judo, Hapkido, Yudo, Wado-Ryu and Shuai Jiao may provide more opportunities early on to develop a sensitivity to touch. As stated above any art should be fine, we have a legally blind instructor at my Kung Fu school and he is very effective.

~Rob
 

Cyriacus

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Dont mind the Blank Spaces. I feel theyre Imperative for Context.

Right, I'm going to weigh in here, there are a few things that seem to need some clarification.

To begin with, I'll take Cyriacus' answers to the initial post, then look at a few others....



And welcome aboard from me.



Cyriacus is absolutely correct here, none of that really means a thing, honestly. The only times that size/weight comes into it is in competition, and in that case you are matched up with other competitors of roughly equal size.

I will note, though, that probably the only physical trait that may have some real bearing isn't mentioned... what gender are you? The physical dimensions you provide could honestly be either...



Now, to be fair, it would probably rule out Kyudo (Japanese archery). Although, in many forms it's not about getting a bullseye, or even hitting the target, it's about the mindset at the point of release. So maybe not.



Okay, here's where we start to get to something useful. What did you like, or not like about the Karate you trained in? That's probably the best place to start.



Ha, what Cyriacus is getting at here is that, while certain arts will have preferences, there really isn't anything like actual criteria for any art, other than the willingness to train and learn.



I wouldn't look too hard at the idea of strength being a factor, you'll find that most systems try to avoid relying on that, as there is always someone stronger.



Yeah, this is rather vague and meaningless, honestly. It's almost like saying you want a martial arts experience that lets you do things, probably things you haven't done before, so you can be more confident about doing things.... uh, okay. Well, that's all of them. The question is, what are you wanting to be able to do?

Of course its Vague - The Statement relates to the fact that any Art will give Him that. His Parameter is what needed to be more Specific.



I'm going to be frank here, and probably burst a bubble or two.

No martial art on the planet is designed with self defence in mind in the modern context. In fact, none ever have been. So the idea of learning a martial art for self defence, to be completely frank, is actually fairly counter-productive, at least to begin with, even though that's why a great number of people start. That said, martial arts can form the basis of a self defence ability and skill set, and the applicability of what you learn to a self defence scenario will be more to do with the instructor and the way the system is trained than what exact system it is.

Indeed - There are still some perhaps better suited to it than others for different People. But lets not get too into this Discussion - I know what Youre saying, and I Agree.



So you know, you've just gone in the opposite direction to your last criteria. You've basically just said that you want something that is designed to handle modern violence, then that you want it to have traditional weaponry components to it as well. That's not an easy thing to find... in fact, I can only think of one place that I know of that deals specifically with that exact situation, after being around for near onto two and a half decades in this. Most traditional schools don't get the disconnect between traditional methods and modern violence, and a system designed and primarily concerned with modern violence will, quite rightly, say that weapons such as swords and staves have no place in a modern system.

Yep - I cant honestly see this Criteria being met. But hey - One can try.

Oh, and that one place separates the modern and the traditional into completely separate areas of study and training, even within the one class. They are simply that different.



Okay, if your only other experience is in Karate, then you probably are referring to the Okinawan/Chinese approach to the concept of kata training, which is a sequence of movements trained solo. That is a common training device in such systems, but not universally used. The Japanese form of kata training is more often a paired form, and much shorter, similar to what many systems would simply refer to as a "technique" (in other words, an attack and a defence). In the main, you'd need to pick which form appeals to you more... but I would also say that this is of the least consequence. While a certain training method may appeal more than another, if you choose to learn a system, you have chosen to learn it. That includes it's methods of training, whether you like them or not. Now, if you don't like the long string of solo movements, then Karate and TKD systems won't be something you'd enjoy... so I wouldn't look to them. But if you do like the Karate systems, that means that you will need to embrace the training methods employed, no matter your personal take on them.



Probably the best thing to ask in regard to all of these requirements, or preferences, is why? Some systems won't "spar" at all, for their own reasons, others will feature it quite heavily, and then you have the systems that fit in anywhere in between. So the question is, what does sparring mean to you? Why is it considered important that it is part of the training?

I presume He enjoys it.



Explaining these arts isn't easy, as the only way to really know anything about them is to experience them. Cyriacus has made a good start on it, and I'll expand it slightly here, but bear in mind the only way to really have any understanding, no matter how detailed the answers you get are, is to get some experience in them.

Aikido is a modern system developed in the 1930's and 40's (pre- and post-WWII) with it's basis coming from Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu as well as a range of other systems, including weaponry systems, such as Yagyu Shinkage Ryu and Kukishin Ryu. It is primarily a system of various joint locks and controls, with throws as well (often as extensions of the joint locks), it's primary movement is circular, and has the philosophy of not meeting force with force, instead having the ideal of harmonising with the attackers incoming energy/momentum. A beautiful, flowing art, it can take a while to get competant at applying the technical methods in real time.

There are a range of branches of Aikido, such as the Yoshinkan, who were headed by Gozo Shioda, a senior student of Ueshiba Morihei, the founder of Aikido, and who left Ueshiba Sensei prior to WWII, feeling that the art was becoming too "soft". At the time, the primary dojo for Ueshiba was nicknamed the Jigoku Dojo ("Hell" Dojo) for the amount of pain endured by the students practicing there. In the 70's Kenji Tomiki founded his own form (Tomiki Aikido, also known as Shodokan), which is unique in that it has a form of competition, and knife work. The "main" line, the group that remains in the Ueshiba family, is known as Iwama Ryu, or Takemusu. This is sometimes considered the most "complete" form, and includes a weaponry component of AikiKen (sword) and AikiJo (four foot staff). It should be noted, though, that this is not the same as learning the weapons, it is more a way of expressing the Aiki (harmonising energy) concepts of the system with the weapons.
Ah, Jujutsu. Realistically, it is both a specialised and a general term, depending on the context. As a general term, it refers to Japanese unarmed or lightly armed combative methods, and systems such as Aikido, Judo etc are really a form of Jujutsu when it all comes down to it. Due to the Japanese prevalence for grappling over striking, most Jujutsu systems will have a focus on throwing, or locks and pins, although some do have a heavy focus on striking as well, and a number of them have either overt or implied use of a range of small weapons (such as daggers of various forms, short swords, jutte etc). Additionally, it can be used to refer to a range of Japanese sourced, or inspired modern systems, often with the mis-spelling of "Jiu Jitsu" or similar. These systems include Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (originally based on early Judo, with a high emphasis on ground fighting), Small Circle Jiu Jitsu (a modern system developed in the 60's/70's by the late Wally Jay, based on Japanese methods), Can Ryu, Saduces Ryu, and more.

As a specialist term, it refers to a specific section of a particular schools syllabus, and the exact usage and definition is determined by the system itself. There is also a wide range of other specialist terms used in a variety of systems to refer to their Jujutsu and Jujutsu-related, or Jujutsu-like systems, such as Hade, Te, Yawara, Yawaragei, Wa, Wajutsu, Judo, Goho, Taijutsu, Kogusoku, Koshi no Mawari, Torite, and more. Typically these terms are found in the older traditional Japanese schools (Koryu).
Wing Chun is almost unique amongst martial arts in that it is said to have been developed by a woman, a nun Ng Mui, as a practical, easy to learn, principle based system that doesn't rely on muscular strength, instead looking to overwhelm with a barrage attack. The training methods are based more in the application of principles, rather than a formal collection of techniques (there are three forms taught, and a few drilling methods that are pretty well universal in Wing Chun schools, but techniques and technical application can vary quite broadly). Some of those principles include guarding the centre line, and the shortest distance being a straight line. It is known for it's sensitivity drills (Chi Sao), and it's handwork, although there is some grappling applications (referred to as "trapping"), and some kicks, it's primary range is hands. Some schools will also teach a pole (staff) weapon, as well as Butterfly Swords (Bat Charn Dao).
Kendo, ah. Kendo is a modern sporting approach to sword methods, and isn't really swordsmanship in regard to learning to use a sword. There are a range of reasons for this, including the targets allowed in contests, the emphasis on striking rather than cutting, and so on. While lots of fun, there are better things to train in if you are after actually learning to use a sword.

Like Aikido, Hapkido comes from Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu, although not as complete an understanding of it. It is then combined with the Korean prevalence for kicking techniques, as well as having a higher emphasis on striking than Aikido does in general. The range of Hapkido schools and approaches covers quite a degree as well, with some being more skewed towards the joint locks and throws, and others being almost Tae Kwon Do with some grappling thrown in.



Right. Cross-training. I'm really not a fan of it at all, particularly not in the early stages of training. It's just too easy to get confused, which can lead to a much longer journey before any real progress is made, or, worst case scenario, a lot of wasted time with one being basically discarded. I'd look more for something that covers as much as possible, or narrow down what you're looking for.

But, from the list we have or needs and systems, Aikido (Takemusu/Iwama Ryu) will give you unarmed methods, as well as some use of sword and staff, but will be missing sparring (although there is a form of randori, free form training, that is employed) and striking to a great degree.

Wing Chun, depending on the school, will give you the bladed and staff weaponry, as well as a striking heavy unarmed system.

The various Ninjutsu organisations will give you quite a range of unarmed and weaponry methods, although the street defence side of things will vary wildly, with the Jinenkan having pretty much no focus on it, the Genbukan having their own form, and the Bujinkan being terrible, or great, or anywhere inbetween, depending on the instructor.

If you're after cross-training, then I'd probably go for something like BJJ (as you mentioned fitness, and that, as well as sparring, referred to as "rolling" with them, is a big emphasis), and then add a traditional Japanese weapon school, either Iaido (sword drawing methods), or Jodo (staff fighting, where you also learn sword as the "attacker").



Just to clarify, only the Iwama Ryu/Takemusu have any sword methods within their system, and it is not the same as learning swordsmanship. Additionally, no Aikido system has any Iai in it whatsoever, with any dojo that offers it having brought it in from outside.



As I said, I'm not fond of cross-training. Once skill and understanding in your base system is gained and established, it can have a place, but initially it's just not a good idea.


Contextually, neither am I. Unless its for Fitness, or something like that. But blending Two Martial Arts can be... Cumbersome. Its still pretty Common though.



One of the base philosophies of Aikido, particularly the post-WWII forms (such as Takemusu/Iwama Ryu) is that no undue injury is caused to the attacker. It should be noted that that does not mean that no injury is caused, just that care is taken to not have injury caused where it is not absolutely required. This comes, to a fair degree, from Ueshiba Sensei's further immersion in a particular sect of Shinto (Omoto Kyo, which some have referred to as a cult), as well as his early studies in Shingon Buddhism. The aim for a lot of Aikido is to immobilise an attacker without causing undue harm, and certainly without killing or permanent injury or maiming. In that way, Aikido is rather considerate to the attacker... far more than other systems are, anyway!

Ah, almost forgot to say this part.

The two best pieces of advice in this thread are Bill's reference to his thread, and JKS's comments about finding out about what is nearby yourself first. Read Bill's thread a few times.... and then look around to see what is nearby for yourself. Visit as many places as you can, and see what "speaks" to you. The right instructor and the right school, with an atmosphere you feel comfortable in, and an instructor you trust, is far more important than the system you study.

All the best with it all.

Ill mention I brought up Crosstraining so much, because its literally the only way He can fulfill every Parameter. Which I think He needs to Rethink, Honestly.
 

Ken Morgan

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You're 18. Go try each of them out for a few weeks and see what fits you best.
 

softstylist

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Much has been said to assist you in your choice so i,ll stick to just one point and that is concerning your eyesight. If you have a vision inpairment then I would definatly consider an art that uses a hands on grappling/trapping element. I say this a because ones trained your sense of touch is far better than your sense of sight when things get physical and I know this because I have trained in jujutsu for 15 years and always feel a person move/react in a certain way before i see them do it so i believe that arts such as jujutsu, aikido and wing chun are a good choice for you.

I hope you find what your after!
:)
 
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Konrad

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I want to thank you all once again, and especially Cyriacus and Chris Parker for your efforts and explaining all those distinctions between martial arts! And also a thanks to Bill Mattocks for that superb thread.

I might not have been clear enough of what I seek in a MA and some of my "demands" might have been a bit unrealistic, but I've finally understood what I desire. I have already decided upon a MA, and that is aikido. This great art has everything that I believe I want. I have gone through a complete list of dojos in my area, and have befallen into a consideration between two of them, both officiated from the Hombu dojo. I have already attended a training session in one, and the techniques displayed there have left me in astonishment and in awe. Tomorrow I will attend the other dojo and see which one I favor more. I'll thus begin training next week.

When it comes to cross-training, I won't do that just as yet, or even at all. It will depend on my progression in aikido. I'm thinking maybe in 6 months or a year I'd choose a MA to cross-train in, and I have actually already chosen it. And it is kendo.

And to answer a question from Chris Parker:

So the question is, what does sparring mean to you? Why is it considered important that it is part of the training?

Cyriacus got it right. It would be something that I'd enjoy in. I want to directly be able to test my skill through sparring.

Also, thanks again, for explaining that distinction between Chinese and Japanese approach to katas. That clarified some matters.
 

Chris Parker

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Dont mind the Blank Spaces. I feel theyre Imperative for Context.

Of course its Vague - The Statement relates to the fact that any Art will give Him that. His Parameter is what needed to be more Specific.

Maybe some clarification is needed here, I was perhaps not clear enough. I was more saying that Konrad's desired factor was vague, so we were in agreement. It wasn't a criticism of your comment, it was an expansion of it. Sorry if that wasn't clear, my friend.

Indeed - There are still some perhaps better suited to it than others for different People. But lets not get too into this Discussion - I know what Youre saying, and I Agree.

Ha, I could link a few threads where I've gone through it.... they're always fun!

Yep - I cant honestly see this Criteria being met. But hey - One can try.

Yeah. What I was concerned with, though, was getting Konrad to a more realistic approach, which may mean dropping some ideas in favour of others, rather than try to cater to everything. I don't think that's actually possible no matter how much you may try...

I presume He enjoys it.

Cool. I'll come back to this with Konrad in a second.

Contextually, neither am I. Unless its for Fitness, or something like that. But blending Two Martial Arts can be... Cumbersome. Its still pretty Common though.

Common, yeah. But that doesn't mean we need to advise it (although some still will, I know, as they have a different belief).

Ill mention I brought up Crosstraining so much, because its literally the only way He can fulfill every Parameter. Which I think He needs to Rethink, Honestly.

Which was the thrust of what I was getting at. Cool.

I want to thank you all once again, and especially Cyriacus and Chris Parker for your efforts and explaining all those distinctions between martial arts! And also a thanks to Bill Mattocks for that superb thread.

I might not have been clear enough of what I seek in a MA and some of my "demands" might have been a bit unrealistic, but I've finally understood what I desire. I have already decided upon a MA, and that is aikido. This great art has everything that I believe I want. I have gone through a complete list of dojos in my area, and have befallen into a consideration between two of them, both officiated from the Hombu dojo. I have already attended a training session in one, and the techniques displayed there have left me in astonishment and in awe. Tomorrow I will attend the other dojo and see which one I favor more. I'll thus begin training next week.

When it comes to cross-training, I won't do that just as yet, or even at all. It will depend on my progression in aikido. I'm thinking maybe in 6 months or a year I'd choose a MA to cross-train in, and I have actually already chosen it. And it is kendo.

And to answer a question from Chris Parker:

So the question is, what does sparring mean to you? Why is it considered important that it is part of the training?

Cyriacus got it right. It would be something that I'd enjoy in. I want to directly be able to test my skill through sparring.

Also, thanks again, for explaining that distinction between Chinese and Japanese approach to katas. That clarified some matters.

My pleasure, and glad you got something out of it all. Aikido is a great art, I hope you'll enjoy it.

Now, to the sparring issue. I will say that the only thing that sparring tests is your ability to apply what you learn in a sparring context, not in a real fight context, or anything similar. It's the same with any testing or training method, really, they should always be looked at in the context of what they actually are. Sparring can be great, it can be a very powerful and useful training tool, it can be great fun, but it is far from the be-all end-all as some seem to want it to be.

Within Aikido you'll be hard pressed to find sparring in this context. What you will find, however, is a form of training known as Randori. Randori literally refers to "chaos capture", and is a way of handling un-nominated attacks. As Aikido has a non-aggressive ideal, the idea of having two training partners attacking each other in order to out-perform each other goes pretty well against the training and teaching concepts of the system, so sparring in that way is not really suited. But you will find that Randori will be very similar in terms of testing your ability to apply techniques in a free-form way, so all in all, a good thing.

All the best with everything!
 

Dirty Dog

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Now, to be fair, it would probably rule out Kyudo (Japanese archery). Although, in many forms it's not about getting a bullseye, or even hitting the target, it's about the mindset at the point of release. So maybe not.

I don't see any reason to rule out Kyudo. I've never done Kyudo, but I have shot (and hunted with) compound, recurve and (European) longbows. Same with rifle, small bore rifle and handguns from .22 to .50 calibre. I shot small bore rifle competitively in HS, with a 270 (of 300) average, and a number of perfect rounds.
I only have one eye, and it's a -6.5 diopter. I spar without glasses, and it's not really an issue.

The rest of your post is, as usual, excellent reading, but being a little myopic is not an issue for MA training. :)
 

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The method of aiming in Kyudo is fairly different, though, and relies, to a great degree, on both eyes having decent if not good long-range sight. It comes down to the difference in the draw changing the position of the arrow in relation to the eyes and the target, one eye is going to require more compromise and alteration than in the Western projectile methods. But, that said, I was being a little, uh, pithy in my mentioning of Kyudo there, and my point was more that any person-to-person (unarmed, close quarter armed etc) methods wouldn't really be ruled out by such issues.

Agreed on your last point, obviously!
 
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