Help me choose an art!

Squid

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I'm looking to choose a martial art.

I'd like for it to give me some degree of self defense.
I'd like for it to include real sparring and maybe even a competitive fight occasionally.
I'd prefer it were a hard martial art.
I want good nutrition/sleep/heavy exercise to benefit me
I do NOT want to be whacked in the head a lot - I like my brain.
I'd prefer it require some agility.

I like competitive weapon fighting. If I could find an art that gives me relevant self defense with the fist or throws and takedowns, and some weapon aspect, I would love it.

If all else fails I will just start fencing again, heh.

Thanks for the read and for any advice I get :]
 

myusername

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Hello Squid and welcome to the forum. Prior to the not wanting to be whacked in the head a lot line I was thinking of possibly boxing, Muay Thai, kickboxing or MMA with your preferences. I guess that with the above sports how often you get hit in the head is down to how good your defence is!

Perhaps Kyokushin Karate would meet your criteria (minus the weapons). Quoted from Wikipedia

"In this form of karate the instructor and his/her students all must take part in hard sparring to prepare them for full contact fighting. Unlike some forms of karate, Kyokushin places high emphasis on full contact fighting which is done without any gloves or protective equipment. This apparent violence is tempered because non-kick or non-knee strikes are not allowed on an opponents face, aiming to reduce the possibility of serious injury however, knees and kicks to the head and face, are allowed."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyokushin_kaikan

Or perhaps Tae Kwon-do? ITF is mainly semi free contact with hand techniques (so even if you got hit in the head it shouldn't be at full power) and WTF is full contact with no hand techniques (so you wouldn't be punched in the head but they will be trying to kick you in the head)

However, none of the above traditionally have weapon training.

I know that you stated that you wanted a hard martial art, but maybe don't rule out the grappling ones such as Judo or jujitsu. Judo would meet most of your criteria except the weapons and a lot of traditional jujitsu schools would have some weapon work.

If you got the right jujitsu school it may meet all of your needs. The best thing you could do is visit as many schools as possible and see which ticks most of your boxes.

Don't rule out cross-training either, as you can see from my signature I do both Tae Kwon-do and Jujutsu. There are a whole heap of possible combinations that would meet your training requirements.

Hope this helps.
 

blindsage

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I would check a Kyokushin school or any of it's derivatives i.e. Enshin, Ashihara, Seido, etc. Occasionally they do teach some weapons as well.

Another thought for you would be Arnis/Kali/Escrima. Any of the Filipino arts would meet most if not all of your interests

As hard as they are to find a Bando school or a Krabi Krabong school would also probably meet your interests. (But good luck with that)
 

Tensei85

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I agree Kyokushin would be a good choice, however where is your location if you don't mind stating? So maybe some of the members can find or know of something in your area.
 
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Squid

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Thanks everyone! Lots of good suggestions!
I'm living in Cambridge,MA (right next to Boston, MA).. so I have access to lots of options.

Dagger escrima sparring looks like fun but I expect I'd never find people to spar with!

You know, judo or jujitsu sound like it might be a good fit for me, despite not matching what I initially said. Is judo a good sport for both lite competition, friendly/fun sparring, along with the heavier competition stuff? The only thing that doesn't fit is that I have never weight lifted before. (I'm fit, just, 135lbs, 5'7, haha)

I'd like to get some self defense as well. How can I tell if a krav maga school is worth it? From what I gather most of them are weak marketing ploys. Here's one in boston... they don't have any 'free sparring' or whatever you'd call it, where both people try to get the upper hand. Does that make it weak? http://www.bostonkravmaga.com/

thanks!
 

Chris Parker

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Hi Squid,

Well, I don't know of anything that matches your original request, as your original request conflicts with itself a bit... To illustrate:

(Your original post, with my comments)

I'd like for it to give me some degree of self defense.

Okay, cool. First we need to establish what you mean/understand about realistic self defence training, and what you mean by "some degree". We'll cover this as we go...


I'd like for it to include real sparring and maybe even a competitive fight occasionally.

Right. Competitive aspects are very different from self defence training, to the point that competitive training can actually be a detriment to your abilities to defend yourself. This is due to a number of factors, including but not limited to the constraints of rules, a focus on non-effective techniques and other training methods specifically designed to aid your competitive success, the development within yourself of a false sense of the realities of violence and how it occurs, and many other aspects.

To note, though, I am not saying that competitive arts and training is not effective, and will offer no benefits, just that you should be aware that it is not geared up for self defence, because that is not it's purpose.

I'd prefer it were a hard martial art.

"Hard" can again be a very subjective term. I can, for instance, take students through very hard (physically) training, including a lot of very intense physical work, a lot of impact, and constantly pushing them. I can also take them through very hard (psychologically) training by pushing boundaries and their ability to handle very high stress situations. I can also take them through very hard (physiologically) training, by taking them through adrenalised training, giving them a small or large adrenaline dump followed by the endorphin rush, then repeat. I can also take them through very hard (emotionally) training, pushing them to go beyond what the know as real, challenging beliefs and values in order to go further in their journey to reach their potential.

Oh, and we do cover all of this, by the way, and I would consider any part of it "hard training", but certain aspects are harder than others. It will just be that different people will find different parts harder than others.

I want good nutrition/sleep/heavy exercise to benefit me

Good. Get a nutritionalist, see a doctor, join a gym. Martial arts may give you some of this, depending on the school, but it is not common to get any real depth of knowledge in these areas. So if these are important to you, see the specialists in these areas. Just like you wouldn't ask your personal trainer how to defend against a knife-weilding assailant, you wouldn't ask your martial art teacher about your sleeping patterns.

I do NOT want to be whacked in the head a lot - I like my brain.

Okay, a few people have mentioned Kyokushin, and while it is true that head punches are disallowed in competition (not in the street, see above re: competitive versus self defence), head kicks are. And Kyokushin practitioners do have a habit of not protecting their heads because they are not expecting to be punched there, and as a result, head kicks often result in knock-outs (when they connect). So getting knocked in the head is still a very real possibility there.

To avoid getting your head knocked the most, look to non-competitive systems, grappling systems, non-contact systems etc.

I'd prefer it require some agility.

See above re: gym. See also: yoga or pilates. In terms of a martial art requiring agility (and I'm going to assume that you are refering to flexibility here as well), most that are going to be based in competition will have that, most that are concerned with self defence will not. Just so you know.


I like competitive weapon fighting.

Okay, we're going further away from real self defence here again. A knife fight where both people draw blades rarely continues on to violence, with both people realising how bad it could get and withdrawing. So an idea of weapon versus weapon is rare, except from historical and military settings.

If I could find an art that gives me relevant self defense with the fist or throws and takedowns, and some weapon aspect, I would love it.

Taking out the competitive aspect (as you have here), look to Ninjutsu schools (Bujinkan, Genbukan, Jinenkan), but ensure the teacher understands the way their art needs to be adapted for modern streets. If they say that you can simply train the old movements and be able to defend yourself, they probably need a little education themselves. Also look to Krav Maga, RBSD systems, and others of the same ilk.

But a word of caution. A common claim to enhance a particular schools appeal when it comes to street defence capabilities is to mention the military, security, or police training involved in either the instructors history or the current student body. Just be aware that the Military, Security, and Police all have very different requirements to street defence. The previous mentioned groups are all required to engage in conflict, and move forward, with the Security personnel needing to subdue and remove (little to no striking, heavy on grappling, operating in groups, some minimal weaponry), the Police need to subdue and restrain (similar to the Security, but with restraints due to legal issues. Often a little better armed, but not always better trained - and the Security industry is not the greatest trained by and large, anyway), and the Military need to engage an enemy, often with deadly force (quite a bit different to street self defence, where if you apply the military approach you go to jail).

To cover you latest post here, if you are looking for sparring in terms of two people squaring up, and both trying to attack each other at the same time, please be aware that that is not how assaults happen, so it has no relevance to self defence. Krav Maga, being an Israeli Military system, has no real need for such drills, but will engage in free-form drills where a defender defends against one or more attackers who may or may not be armed, and are restisting. This is a graduated process, by the way. And the way to tell if it's a good school is to visit it and check it out.

I'll finish with this. DO NOT CHOOSE AN ART!!!

The most important aspect is not going to be what system you study, it will be where you study, and who you study with. Visit as many schools as you can/want, check out the instructors and other students, and go with the one that matches your personality the best. You may find that it is exactly what you were needing, even if it is not what you thought you were looking for.
 
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Squid

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Eh, I don't want all of those things packaged together. Just as many as possible. I also do know how to eat sleep and exercise properly, but I just would love some motivation to keep doing so.

The self defense really is because I want to protect *others* ie last time I walked around with a girl in the evening two punks decided my friend was hot and they both "deserved" her more than I did. A disgusting mentality, but I digress...If something had happened to her I wouldn't be able to forgive myself. I suppose there are more effective alternatives than figuring out how to "fight"...

Good point about the self defense stuff. I suppose de-escalation and avoidance techniques will help deter/avoid morons more than some invisible training. The krav maga is being marketed as "it's good because the authorities use it"... screw that I guess! :]

When I say, I don't want to get whacked in the head... I mean "ring" fighting mostly...I really want to do muay thai for example, but I recently (past few days) decided to attend college, so eff that! Less time to devote to training which means weaker defense and less intellect for school heh :|
 

Chris Parker

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Cool. So you realise though, it is very rare for you to get taught anything close to protection of others in most martial art classes, as they are designed/focused on "self"-defence. That is a bit of a clue, by the way.

But it is out there. We have recently run a series of classes in Partner Protection and Buddy Guarding, which are essentially the skills of looking after friends/loved ones, and basic body-guarding skills which can be utilised by parents (with their children), as well as friends and loved ones again. Very little that would be recognised as "martial arts", but incredibly interesting and useful topics to study.
 
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Squid

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I didn't know classes like that existed ...makes sense though. It sounds interesting.

Different people will attack a child than an adult. I think someone willing to attack an adult is probably more willing to do immediate harm and will be less easily deterred though. Is some basic fighting stuff taught?
 

Bondservant

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Hello Squid,

I would encourage you to find a TaeKwonDo school that teaches selfdefense and is traditional in that it also teaches some weapons.

I think that your fencing footwork would be fun to blend with the agility you will learn in TKD. You can lightly sparr or go all out knock out in competition.

Any how that would be my preference. Good luck in your journey
 

Chris Parker

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I didn't know classes like that existed ...makes sense though. It sounds interesting.

Different people will attack a child than an adult. I think someone willing to attack an adult is probably more willing to do immediate harm and will be less easily deterred though. Is some basic fighting stuff taught?

Hi Squid,

There isn't much that you would probably refer to as "fighting stuff" in either class, a bit more in the Partner Protection than in the Buddy Guarding, but still very little. The idea is that (with the Partner Protection) you are being introduced to concepts which fit in with your existing training, and any body guard (or anyone who has done any body guarding) will tell you that if it comes to an actual physical encounter, then there have been a number of failures already. That is not the idea of body/Buddy Guarding.

And remember, it may not be an attack (on a child), it may just be someone who is getting too close for your comfort (my sister has had 6 kids, so manouevering them around is a little involved at times, and she has been appoached on a number of occasions by people she doesn't know who just want to see/touch the kids). This is a way to get the kids away without much fuss or aggrevating a situation. Make sense?
 

DergaSmash

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Why not try Hung Gar?

It is very physcially intense at first, meeting your hard martial art requirement. Yet later on you will learn and develop internal aspects.

Many weapons are taught in Hung Gar: pole, broadsword, spear, etc...

There are both contact and not contact competitive aspects, and weapons competitions.

Hung Gar has striking, Chin Na for takedowns, and a good Sifu will aslo show how that works when taken to the ground although not to the same degree as a grappling art.

A good Sifu also has knowledge of Chinese medicine which may help you in the health aspect you are looking for.

I found a good site to what appears to be a good Hung Gar school in Boston. If you decide to check it out, make sure you ask a lot of questions.

http://www.winchellpcwoo.com/
 

still learning

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Hello, Try JUDO? ...it is more than you think!

VERY hands on training.....actual throws....NO kicking in the air or punching in the air....REAL techneques...using real times....

Aloha,
 
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