Just getting started..Help me pick..

MasterBlaster

White Belt
Joined
Apr 3, 2010
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
I will soon be getting into MA, and need help picking out what I should take..

I want to be able to walk away from a fight first and foremost, but if it comes down to it, be able to defend myself and my family in a worst case scenario, even if this means multiple assailants.

I searched for some things close to me, and heres what I am looking into:

http://www.dalesimmonstangsoodo.com/
http://www.greubelsmma.com/
http://www.martialartsamerica.com/
http://www.columbiataichicenter.com/ (is Tai chi really useful for self defense?)
http://www.hasayfu.com/lamtang/lamtang(offers a few styles: Cantonese Style Hung Ga, Ha Say Fu Hung Ga, and Tai-Chi-Chuan (Yang, Wu and Sun Style), and also Qi Gong (internal and external methods)

what ya guys think?
 

David43515

Master Black Belt
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
1,383
Reaction score
50
Location
Sapporo, Japan
If your only desire is to learn it for defense, and you have no previous MA background I`d either suggest going to the MMA gym or the Kung Fu school.

The MMA gym will have basic stuff that you can understand and use right away if you need to.

Hung Gar also has a good reputation. I`ve known guys with a strong Hung Gar background that were life-takers and heartbreakers.

Yes Tai Chi can produce really good fighters, but very few teachers can fight with it and it would take a long time to produce results in terms of good fighting skills.It`s better to use it to augment your other training.

But really any art or style can teach you to defend yourself if you have a good teacher. Look for a style you think you`d enjoy at a place you can see your self going to when you`re tired after work and you don`t wanna train. If you don`t like the place and the people, you won`t stick with it.
 

Malleus

Orange Belt
Joined
Apr 3, 2010
Messages
75
Reaction score
3
Hey there.

You sound rather a lot like me. Unfortunately, being a martial arts forum, there's going to be rather a lot of people all recommending their own styles, so the advice you get will probably be quite varied.

As for my thoughts on the matter: I spend 6 years studying Tang Soo Do, basically a Korean karate. Very impressive looking, high kicks, chambered punches. They did some light sparring and tried to incorporate some self-defence moves into the training. Overall, I found it to be horrendously ineffective as an actual fighting style, and I would like to think I was one of the better ones there towards the end, both strength and skill wise. I entered a few semi-contact point competitions, and did quite well too. I also spent a few years at a self-defence orientated BJJ school, which was definately better for the street, but I still felt it wasn't quite what I was looking for.

If you're looking to preform well under fighting circumstances, then it stands to reason that you should fight. That means heavy sparring, so you can cut any clubs that don't offer that straight away. Not only will it get you used to opponents that move around a lot and are actively resisting you, but it will mean that you get to experience what it's like to get hit. I cannot emphasise this enough: you need to learn how to get hit. Street fighting is ugly, and you need to be able to take a punch or ten without freaking out about it. Hopefully you won't need to, but that's another story.

I would steer clear of the more traditional martial arts (such as Tang Soo Do) for a multitude of reasons. They're fantastic in their own way, and I wouldn't be the person I am today without their training, but I just don't feel they're practical.

Personally, I'd recommend boxing or MMA. My rationale is that against multiple attackers it's best to stay on your feet so you can sprint away as soon as possible. Boxing is fantastic because there is absolutely no mystique around it, there's no philosophical insights or undue deference to masters. Your progress is rapid if you train hard, and you can see it in a very tangible manner when you find your base remaining solid after throwing a combination of punches, or slipping your first shot. And because it's full contact, you know it'll actually work.

MMA is probably the best bet, but it depends on where you're training. It should incorporate wrestling and groundfighting, plus some basic (but the most effective) kicks known. Your handwork won't really be as tight as a boxers, but you should have enough tools to make up the difference.

Anyway, I'm sure plenty of people will disagree with what I've said, but that's my two cents.

Take care,
Malleus.
 

SensibleManiac

Black Belt
Joined
Jun 6, 2007
Messages
556
Reaction score
14
Muay Thai + Judo, any type of RBSD that implements sparring into their training.

There are lots of options if you look for them, just know specifically what you want out of training and check out the schools in your area.
 

repz

Green Belt
Joined
Jan 21, 2010
Messages
195
Reaction score
3
Location
Brooklyn, NYC
I'd probably be the worst in picking a style, since I'm always changing my style. But these are usually due to money reasons, and time (full time student with no job).

There are two different perspectives of what can offer the best in self defense.

One, is those who claim they are pure self defense artists. They may or may not believe in sport, arguing that conforming and training within a confined ruleset will build bad habits when thrown into a situation with no rules, and with more then one opponent.

They train with a focus on hitting vital areas, training against multiple opponents, weapon disarms, and some come with created concepts of what self defense includes besides just physical confrontation.

The main arguement against this type of training is that they can never fully measure vital area training is, since no one strikes each other full shot unprotected to the groin and eyes without creating a ruleset, or using padding equipment (which some say is walking a fine line of sports). And some dont fight in resisting force against their training partners because of the reliance on hitting vital areas, which can build its own habits. When stress is high, and you have the flight or fight response, can someone summon the ability to do something that 1000 of drills have ingrained in training to hold back a few inches, losing real world distance and timing?

Then there are the sports fighters, who say live training at full force can teach you to unleash real world power on a live resisting person, and also how to condition yourself phsyically, and mentally, to take a "hit" during a fight. The timing, coordination, reaction, and other positive attributes for self defense are greatly increased in sparring.

Arguement against this is that many neglect vital point strikes, in favor of hitting legal areas, with padded equipment. Some schools are so deep into sports training, they dont dare devote time to self defense against multiple opponents, weapons disarms, using "illegal moves", or speak about self defense concepts, as it might detract from their sports, and might take away training time, or build habits that can get them confused, and/ or banned in competetion. Also the reliance of concentration on a one on one fight isnt always realistic for self defense. Can someone pull off a knife disarm when training rarely concentrates on one threat of the body of a human (in this case the hand holding the knife) which is ultimately shifting concentration, and opens up a whole new world of fighting?

Obviously, this isnt for everyone. There is no one true mold for a self defense art, or sports art. This is more of a steriotype to get my point across, I may or may not believe in the above, these just so happens to be one of the main arguement between both camps. In case someone for some reason took offense to what I wrote and are ready to respond in defense for whatever reason.

So, all that leads to is that the best choice is finding something that incorporates both concepts. A styles name, even an organisation, isnt a good indicator of its effectiveness. We can be from the same style, same organisation, even shared an instructor in our lineage, but it might not be the same when it comes to what I mentioned above.
 

Hawke

Master Black Belt
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
1,067
Reaction score
24
Hey Master Blaster,

Welcome to Martial Talk.

Did any of the stickies give helpful information for you?

Resources for Beginners:
http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17277

Choosing a school:
http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=47497

Visit as many places as you can.

The instructor is more important than the style. The instructor will make or break the class. The example I usually give is remember that horrible high school teacher you had? On the flip side remember that awesome high school teacher. You want an instructor that will guide you in the direction you want to go.

See if they offer a free class or two. Maybe watch a class and take a free class for the next visit. If the class does spar is it points? full contacts? Gear or no gear? When you watch them spar are they using techniques or is it patty cake.

Also when they train do they get any feedback? Are they punching air? A bag? A focus mitt/shield? Each other? If you never been hit full force that may come as a surprise. If possible watch a beginning class and later an advance class.

Is it important that you study under a recognized martial art that can transfer to other places or studying a unique or more esoteric martial art is fine with you?

Watch out for contracts. Some are not bad at all, others might hold you to the contract plus a penalty. Make sure you understand all the fees up front. Registration fee. Monthly fee. Testing fee. Annual organization fee. Travel fee if you have to travel to another state or country to test.

When people talk about certain styles is it usually from their point of view. Their martial art experience may be different even though it's the same style. That said certain styles are known for their self defense against a resisting opponent, while other styles work with a cooperative partner for safety.

Good luck on this fantastic journey.
 
Last edited:

Hawke

Master Black Belt
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
1,067
Reaction score
24
I briefly glanced at the links you suggested.

http://www.dalesimmonstangsoodo.com/
They do sports sparring, not full contact. No groin hits. No face hits.

http://www.martialartsamerica.com/
I don't know much about Chun Kuk Do except that its based on Tang Soo Do.

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

http://www.greubelsmma.com/
It's a MMA gym. Your opponent will resist you. Might be limited to MMA rules. Your fights will be one on one. No multiple opponents. No disarms.

http://www.columbiataichicenter.com/index.html
Tai Chi class. Push hands. Weapons training. Martial application. I couldn't find which version of Tai Chi is being taught.
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
269
Location
Olney, Maryland
I will soon be getting into MA, and need help picking out what I should take..

I want to be able to walk away from a fight first and foremost, but if it comes down to it, be able to defend myself and my family in a worst case scenario, even if this means multiple assailants.

I searched for some things close to me, and heres what I am looking into:

http://www.dalesimmonstangsoodo.com/
http://www.greubelsmma.com/
http://www.martialartsamerica.com/
http://www.columbiataichicenter.com/ (is Tai chi really useful for self defense?)
http://www.hasayfu.com/lamtang/lamtang(offers a few styles: Cantonese Style Hung Ga, Ha Say Fu Hung Ga, and Tai-Chi-Chuan (Yang, Wu and Sun Style), and also Qi Gong (internal and external methods)

what ya guys think?
Welcome to MT, MasterBlaster!

By the way, I used to play the video game, Master Blaster a lot back when you had to put quarters in to play anything that wasn't pong.

Everyone else has given you good advice. Regarding the Tai Chi question, skill wise, yes, but you need to find someone who teaches application and not just going through the 24 form for fitness with no application, which is most of what we have in my area (there are exceptions).

Once again, welcome!

Daniel
 

Shawn-San

Yellow Belt
Joined
Mar 28, 2010
Messages
29
Reaction score
1
Location
Michigan
I would steer clear of the more traditional martial arts (such as Tang Soo Do) for a multitude of reasons.
Can you please elaborate on that?

They're fantastic in their own way, and I wouldn't be the person I am today without their training, but I just don't feel they're practical.

Why don't you think about what you're saying here? Please tell me, because now I'm dying to know. How exactly is Tang Soo Do not practical?
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
269
Location
Olney, Maryland
How exactly is Tang Soo Do not practical?
Because you don't learn to fight in a cage, which is a must for realism, and you never learn the all important skill of tapping out your attackers. You know, those things that really save you in the real world (sorry; couldn't resist:)).

Daniel
 

Xue Sheng

All weight is underside
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
30,910
Reaction score
5,131
Location
North American Tectonic Plate
http://www.columbiataichicenter.com/ (is Tai chi really useful for self defense?)

His teacher is Ma For Ren who is Frank DeMaria and I believe it is called Cheng Style which was created by Chang Tung-sen and that is pretty much all I know but I did find this

Now to taiji as a martial art, if you find a teacher that really knows it and have the time to dedicate to it sure. If you are looking for some thing that will get you up to fighting quickly no. But the real issue is finding a sifu that actually knows taiji and to be honest I do not know if any of them do or not without seeing them and possibly doing bit of Tuishou
 

Shawn-San

Yellow Belt
Joined
Mar 28, 2010
Messages
29
Reaction score
1
Location
Michigan
Because you don't learn to fight in a cage, which is a must for realism, and you never learn the all important skill of tapping out your attackers. You know, those things that really save you in the real world (sorry; couldn't resist:)).

Daniel

And learning to fight in a cage is the be-all/end-all of martial arts training?
At my school we are required to take jui-jitsu training as a manditory requirement at higher ranks. Some fights will go to the ground "yes"... but this has been argued time and time again also. (sorry, can't find the link for it) Not ALL fights will go to the ground. In fact, a successful fight will not have the chance to go to the ground.
What exactly do you consider a fight?? Now if you meen successfully defending yourself in the case of someone attacking you, then yes you might consider that a fight. You've got to be in a reasonable amount of danger to even be able to defend yourself though... which has also been discussed in detail here http://martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=85607.

So being able to tap someone out is going to "save you in the real world"? There's actually quite a bit wrong with what you've just said. Being able to successfully defend yourself and being smart enough to get yourself out danger is what is going to save you. Always being aware of your surroundings is going to be your best defense in any situation.
This whole MMA movement has really gotten out of hand. It's a fad... like the newest craze. Don't get me wrong, I love watching UFC, but what we have going on here is just another fitness craze and it WILL dye down eventually. Argue all you want on the matter, this has also been discussed here http://martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=70990&highlight=mma+fitness+movement and in other threads.

Im going to scream the next time someone recommends MMA as a good base for MA training.
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
269
Location
Olney, Maryland
How exactly is Tang Soo Do not practical?
Because you don't learn to fight in a cage, which is a must for realism, and you never learn the all important skill of tapping out your attackers. You know, those things that really save you in the real world (sorry; couldn't resist:)).

Daniel
And learning to fight in a cage is the be-all/end-all of martial arts training?
At my school we are required to take jui-jitsu training as a manditory requirement at higher ranks. Some fights will go to the ground "yes"... but this has been argued time and time again also. (sorry, can't find the link for it) Not ALL fights will go to the ground. In fact, a successful fight will not have the chance to go to the ground.
What exactly do you consider a fight?? Now if you meen successfully defending yourself in the case of someone attacking you, then yes you might consider that a fight. You've got to be in a reasonable amount of danger to even be able to defend yourself though... which has also been discussed in detail here http://martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=85607.

So being able to tap someone out is going to "save you in the real world"? There's actually quite a bit wrong with what you've just said. Being able to successfully defend yourself and being smart enough to get yourself out danger is what is going to save you. Always being aware of your surroundings is going to be your best defense in any situation.
This whole MMA movement has really gotten out of hand. It's a fad... like the newest craze. Don't get me wrong, I love watching UFC, but what we have going on here is just another fitness craze and it WILL dye down eventually. Argue all you want on the matter, this has also been discussed here http://martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=70990&highlight=mma+fitness+movement and in other threads.

Im going to scream the next time someone recommends MMA as a good base for MA training.
You do realize that I was being sarcastic, don't you?

Daniel
 

Shawn-San

Yellow Belt
Joined
Mar 28, 2010
Messages
29
Reaction score
1
Location
Michigan
You do realize that I was being sarcastic, don't you?

Daniel

No... thanks for clearing that up.
Anyways, I didn't meen for this thread to get off-topic. To the OP, try taking a couple introductory classes at each school and see which style you personally like. Is it going to be something you can see yourself doing in ten years? Often the deciding factors are based on how well you like the sensei teaching, the over-all price, and the distance you have to travel to train.
 

Malleus

Orange Belt
Joined
Apr 3, 2010
Messages
75
Reaction score
3
Can you please elaborate on that?


Why don't you think about what you're saying here? Please tell me, because now I'm dying to know. How exactly is Tang Soo Do not practical?

Well, it's obviously down to the trainer, and I don't feel mine was particuarly good. I spent 6 years under him, and progressed to my first red belt before a back injury and disillusionment prompted me to quit.

In our training, which was very TMA style, we did quite a lot of three step sparring. Aggressor punches, defender middle blocks, reverse punches, thrust kicks. We used the traditional deep front stances all the time. Sparring was few and far between, and never full contact. An emphasis was put on respect above all else, and we were discouraged from competing in competitions because competition is something that apparently more of a TKD thing than a TSD thing. I had a few scuffles on the street during those years, and while I felt I could preform well in the gym or in competition, I felt that my training gave me next to nothing for street fighting.

You can argue that this was simply down to inefficiencies in my training, and a bad dojo setup, and I'd agree. However, after moving to Muay Thai, and training with friends in boxing, my perspective on striking arts changed drastically. MT espoused big, brutal kicks, while TSD had a much larger arsenal of flashier, faster, but less powerful kicks. I felt that my striking was far better subsequently, and that I could actually damage people and cover up far better than when I was only trained in TSD.

The problem with nearly all TMA's is that they have glaring weaknesses that need to be addressed. TSD/TKD are primarily kicking arts, but they're not necessarily the best at what they do. Definately MT kicks, with the shin rather than the foot being used and a superior follow-through, can generate more power. That, and their propensity for aiming low limits the chances of being caught. Also, TSD/TKD, in my opinion, are too kick orientated. Spending that much time in a dangerous balance situation is asking to be taken down. It happens loads in TSD competitions, even as a result of trying to throw a flashy spin kick, let alone a deliberate takedown. Luckily they have judges to break them up and set them right again.

Boxing has phenomenal handwork that I don't think can be matched in any other dicipline, though I've got a growing respect for wing-chun chain striking. And some form of groundwork is a necessity, BJJ being most peoples favourite at the moment. There's also a need for proficiency in stand-up grappling, be it something like greco-roman wrestling or judo. A good MMA system should incorporate all of this in one handy package, so you don't have to take classes every night of the week to cover stand-up, clinch/takedown and groundwork.

That's why I have a problem with TSD as a self defence art. It's focus is undeniably on kicking, and high kicks at that. That's a risky endeavour outside of the gym. Not only that, the 'self-defence' three steps we were advised to use were terrible. Years of 'be respectful and don't hurt your opponent' being indoctrinated into you is counterproductive. My two cents.

Daniel said:
Because you don't learn to fight in a cage, which is a must for realism, and you never learn the all important skill of tapping out your attackers. You know, those things that really save you in the real world (sorry; couldn't resist:)).

No probs, a sense of humour is always appreciated :) .

Here's what training in MMA competitions brings to the table, that can be used in real life.

1) You'll have to be proficient at your stand-up game: both kicking and punching, kneeing and elbowing, and clinch fighting. That means knowing what works and what can cause damage, without overexposing yourself.

2) You'll learn to sprawl and defend takedowns, and how to takedown a superior striker.

3) You'll learn to fight on the ground, which, as has been said far too often, is where a lot of IRL fights wind up.

4) Not only this, but you'll be training to fight against a focused, dangerous, trained person who really, really wants to hurt you. Vale tudo fights are the closest you're going to get to a street brawl without getting in a street brawl. Yes there are rules. Still, RBSD systems don't offer the conditioning aspect, at least around here.

5) From doing all this, you'll be conditioned. Your fitness will recieve more attention, because if you don't prefect it you'll get hammered. You'll get used to being hit hard and keeping going forward. I know that because I had little to no experience of taking punches when I was open competing under TSD, I was easily disorientated by a flurry of punches. (my first fights against a kickboxer and a boxer didn't go well.) Not quite so bad anymore, and I put it down to having learned to take a punch better, and return it far better as well.

Granted, it's not perfect. MMA is handicapped by rules, it doesn't offer advice against multiple attackers or how to deal with weapons. But from seeing a boxer friend of mine knocking out 3 assailants one night, I think that the ability to hit fast, hard and accurately in a high pressure situation is of paramount importance. Without sounding like a stereotypical Internet Tough Guy, I had a slight altercation about 3 weeks ago with 4 guys who wanted my dickybow. (Long story. And no, I don't typically wear dickybows. Special occasion.) I knocked down two of them and sprinted for it, no injuries apart from my knuckles. I thank my boxing for that, and the heavy sparring I've done recently. But anyone can say these thing on the internet, as talk is cheap. I just wanted to point out where I, personally, am coming from.

And you can still incorporate a RBSD system if you need to. Just one more art to the mix. RBSD's cover a lot of the problems MMA has, and vice versa.

I suppose my major point, above everything else, is that fighting is ugly. To win, you have to be vicious and aggressive. I've a problem with martial arts that seek to curb this aggression and insulate people from the realities of fighting. Youtube any street fights and you'll see what I mean: their form may be sloppy and no where near as effective as someone trained, but sheer aggression is a devastating obstacle to overcome. For me, the best way to survive is to cultivate this aggression and pressure test it. Heavy-sparring/actual fighting is, IMHO, the best way to learn to keep the aggression going when you start to get hit.
 

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,289
Reaction score
226
You can argue that this was simply down to inefficiencies in my training, and a bad dojo setup, and I'd agree.

Good post above. Thanks for sharing your views.

However, I do think traditional martial arts are effective for self-defense if trained and drilled properly. You only have to visit the TKD forum to know that RL application is something that is very much on the minds of TKD/TSD/karate instructors and students. I think much of what you complained about in your TSD experiences could have been addressed if your teacher had been more inclined to teach for utility in combat. Plenty of live sparring, lots of contact, working the standing and prone grappling ranges, and physical conditioning are all facets any traditional martist artist can practice. It's a shame your teacher was more focused on the character and artful side of TSD, but it's good that you found what you wanted in MMA.
 

Malleus

Orange Belt
Joined
Apr 3, 2010
Messages
75
Reaction score
3
However, I do think traditional martial arts are effective for self-defense if trained and drilled properly. You only have to visit the TKD forum to know that RL application is something that is very much on the minds of TKD/TSD/karate instructors and students. I think much of what you complained about in your TSD experiences could have been addressed if your teacher had been more inclined to teach for utility in combat. Plenty of live sparring, lots of contact, working the standing and prone grappling ranges, and physical conditioning are all facets any traditional martist artist can practice. It's a shame your teacher was more focused on the character and artful side of TSD, but it's good that you found what you wanted in MMA.

Thank you. I'll have to concede that you have a point: it depends very much on the trainer and the training style. I probably do have a bit of a sour taste in my mouth regarding my initial experiences. No offense intended to anyone or their arts.

Take care.
 

Shawn-San

Yellow Belt
Joined
Mar 28, 2010
Messages
29
Reaction score
1
Location
Michigan
Nice post... and rather informative.

Well, it's obviously down to the trainer, and I don't feel mine was particuarly good. I spent 6 years under him, and progressed to my first red belt before a back injury and disillusionment prompted me to quit.

In our training, which was very TMA style, we did quite a lot of three step sparring. Aggressor punches, defender middle blocks, reverse punches, thrust kicks. We used the traditional deep front stances all the time. Sparring was few and far between, and never full contact. An emphasis was put on respect above all else, and we were discouraged from competing in competitions because competition is something that apparently more of a TKD thing than a TSD thing. I had a few scuffles on the street during those years, and while I felt I could preform well in the gym or in competition, I felt that my training gave me next to nothing for street fighting.

Yes... it sounds as if you just didn't agree with your sensei's teaching style. It's unfortunate you spent those 6 years under him. This accounts for practically all of the misinformation about any given art. I'm possitve that if you would've had a different sensei, you would feel differently about TSD.

That's why I have a problem with TSD as a self defence art. It's focus is undeniably on kicking, and high kicks at that. That's a risky endeavour outside of the gym. Not only that, the 'self-defence' three steps we were advised to use were terrible. Years of 'be respectful and don't hurt your opponent' being indoctrinated into you is counterproductive. My two cents.

I think you have TSD and TKD mixed up. There is undeniably more of an emphasis on kicking in TKD.
I'm not saying that TSD doesn't have its faults. It just sounds as if you've adopted a bad image of what TSD is based upon having been trained by a poor instructor (or one that you personally didn't agree with).
 
Top