Martial Arts Pockets Chi-Town

snake_monkey

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I am a traditional martial artist and I have been in the Chicago area for a while. I train Kung Fu and I have a Sifu. However, I was interested in meeting others in the Local Martial Arts community and so I searched the area for about 3 years. I tried some schools and even joined a semi-private club on top of my training.

It turns out l, however that many schools have failed to reply to my inquiries about training - or simply refused to train with me. I am very grateful for my primary Sifu and style of Kung fu / school as I can train martial arts there and it has done so much for me. I am at a point where all the experiences and advice I have been given have led me to stick to my one style. I am a total nerd and love to dig deeper and study the techniques so this is not a problem for me. I just find it interesting how the results of my research and inquiries have led me to this.

Additionally, I am going to train some tumbling in a gym (non-self-defense related) in order to work on my performance act and move my body in different ways. Any advice on tumbling or on Martial Arts in Chicago is appreciated.
 

Gerry Seymour

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No input (not in the area) other than to point out that many small MA schools are run by someone whose priority is teaching, not the business. They sometimes just suck at follow-up on email and such. I've had luck with some of those places by dropping by when I knew a class was about to change (start/end), when I'm likely to at least be able to introduce myself and ask when I could talk to the CI.
 

ShortBridge

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I've read your post a couple of times. I'm not sure what you might be looking for in a response, though. Can you clarify?
 
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snake_monkey

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Thanks for your responses. Im in a transition phase in my life (things are going pretty well...) and Im just trying to find my way the within the martial arts community. I have received some input from various teachers etc. and a number of said teachers have pointed me in the direction of sticking to my primary style of martial arts (worth noting that these teachers run semi-private clubs). I am wondering if I should take this advice wholeheartedly and practice what they are advising, or if I should be looking at more universal styles of martial arts as opposed to small groups in addition to my primary style. I have just got a reply from a Judo school and a Kendo club and they seem welcoming so far. These are more like competition sports which is something that I currently dont practice.

To simplify: Are you advocates of Training one style of martial arts or multiple styles? Have you found it difficult to train multiple styles? Have you found difficulty joining martial arts clubs in your area? Any other related questions that I havent thought of please feel free to answer. Thanks !
 
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ShortBridge

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You'll get lots of opinions on how and where to train. They'll be familiar to you, because we repeat the same arguments over and over here, with the usual suspects advocating their same point of view thread after thread. Decide where you come down on those points of view and go with it. I'm going to stay away from that sub-discussion in your eventual response, but, some reactions to some things you wrote:

I am a traditional martial artist...I train Kung Fu and I have a Sifu...

This is how traditional martial artists train. I'm curious if your sifu knows that you've been contacting other clubs and if so has given you advice or guidance on it. If you are contacting other "traditional" clubs, especially non-commercial ones, they may be reticent for a few reasons, including respect for your current sifu.

It turns out l, however that many schools have failed to reply to my inquiries about training - or simply refused to train with me.

I can only share my perspective, but how someone approaches me determines largely how I will respond to them. I don't think I ever fail to promptly respond to anyone who contacts me about training, but I do get emails that I can't really even be sure are legitimate inquiries about training. I posted a thread on one aspect of this last year and got a lot of good feedback that I've taken to heart, but I get emails that say "where r u?" or "how much?" or "hey, I'm gonna stop by your class and check it out. thanx dude." (class times, location, and dues are not published) The short version is that those people are going to have to do better if they want me to take them seriously. It's just not how you approach a traditional martial arts teacher to inquire about becoming a student, especially one who is not after your money. Not saying that you do that, but trying to speculate on why you aren't getting the responses you want.

A commercial judo or MMA or boxing club will probably be more responsive and not care that you have a sifu and are already doing something else.

I am at a point where all the experiences and advice I have been given have led me to stick to my one style. I am a total nerd and love to dig deeper and study the techniques so this is not a problem for me. I just find it interesting how the results of my research and inquiries have led me to this.

When someone approaches me in some reasonable way (there's a broad range, it's not a secret password or anything), but says they already have a sifu and a style, I would have a lot of questions for them about what they were trying to accomplish and whether their sifu supported them branching out and that conversation might lead us to "if you like your style and trust your sifu, I'm afraid that what we do might get in the way of that."

When (happens all of the time) someone contacts me and says "I'd like to learn some Wing Chun, so I can take the good bits and leave the rest of the garbage that you do behind, because I have a special blend of other things that are better..." or some such thing, then it usually doesn't work out for us, because that's not what I'm looking for in a student. Not to mention the fact that it's insulting.

Anytime anyone contacts me for training, regardless of how they did it, I take an interest in what they are looking for and whether or not I think I can help them. I ALWAYS recommend other choices, because I want to train people who really want what I have. And there are other choices and there are other approaches to training. As someone said above, my goal isn't business, it's passing on what was made available to me and trying to help people in the way that I am best positioned to help them. What I do isn't for everyone and I don't change who we are or what we do to accommodate a new student's ideas of what would be better. It's just not how any traditional martial arts instructor who I have ever met operates.

To simplify: Are you advocates of Training one style of martial arts or multiple styles?

This is a different question and you already know the answer. There are traditional martial artists (which you self identified as) and there are modernists. This and every forum is full of the later and if it's balanced with the former then the advocates for modern MMA/mixed-other approaches are going to drown out the traditionalists. I will let the rest of the responses inform you on that question and you'll have to make up your own mind.

I've gone both ways, I spend a lot of my 20s collecting and sparring and brawling and style hopping then settled into a classical system. I also train in a 2nd classical system, but my SiFu had a hand in that, supports it and connected me with it (I have done the same for one of my senior students too). There is a traditional approach to parallel paths in classical styles, but it's not calling around on your own.

Hopefully something I wrote helps you. I probably can't do better in this thread, but if you'd like to DM me and talk more specifically, feel free.
 

Flying Crane

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You'll get lots of opinions on how and where to train. They'll be familiar to you, because we repeat the same arguments over and over here, with the usual suspects advocating their same point of view thread after thread. Decide where you come down on those points of view and go with it. I'm going to stay away from that sub-discussion in your eventual response, but, some reactions to some things you wrote:



This is how traditional martial artists train. I'm curious if your sifu knows that you've been contacting other clubs and if so has given you advice or guidance on it. If you are contacting other "traditional" clubs, especially non-commercial ones, they may be reticent for a few reasons, including respect for your current sifu.



I can only share my perspective, but how someone approaches me determines largely how I will respond to them. I don't think I ever fail to promptly respond to anyone who contacts me about training, but I do get emails that I can't really even be sure are legitimate inquiries about training. I posted a thread on one aspect of this last year and got a lot of good feedback that I've taken to heart, but I get emails that say "where r u?" or "how much?" or "hey, I'm gonna stop by your class and check it out. thanx dude." (class times, location, and dues are not published) The short version is that those people are going to have to do better if they want me to take them seriously. It's just not how you approach a traditional martial arts teacher to inquire about becoming a student, especially one who is not after your money. Not saying that you do that, but trying to speculate on why you aren't getting the responses you want.

A commercial judo or MMA or boxing club will probably be more responsive and not care that you have a sifu and are already doing something else.



When someone approaches me in some reasonable way (there's a broad range, it's not a secret password or anything), but says they already have a sifu and a style, I would have a lot of questions for them about what they were trying to accomplish and whether their sifu supported them branching out and that conversation might lead us to "if you like your style and trust your sifu, I'm afraid that what we do might get in the way of that."

When (happens all of the time) someone contacts me and says "I'd like to learn some Wing Chun, so I can take the good bits and leave the rest of the garbage that you do behind, because I have a special blend of other things that are better..." or some such thing, then it usually doesn't work out for us, because that's not what I'm looking for in a student. Not to mention the fact that it's insulting.

Anytime anyone contacts me for training, regardless of how they did it, I take an interest in what they are looking for and whether or not I think I can help them. I ALWAYS recommend other choices, because I want to train people who really want what I have. And there are other choices and there are other approaches to training. As someone said above, my goal isn't business, it's passing on what was made available to me and trying to help people in the way that I am best positioned to help them. What I do isn't for everyone and I don't change who we are or what we do to accommodate a new student's ideas of what would be better. It's just not how any traditional martial arts instructor who I have ever met operates.



This is a different question and you already know the answer. There are traditional martial artists (which you self identified as) and there are modernists. This and every forum is full of the later and if it's balanced with the former then the advocates for modern MMA/mixed-other approaches are going to drown out the traditionalists. I will let the rest of the responses inform you on that question and you'll have to make up your own mind.

I've gone both ways, I spend a lot of my 20s collecting and sparring and brawling and style hopping then settled into a classical system. I also train in a 2nd classical system, but my SiFu had a hand in that, supports it and connected me with it (I have done the same for one of my senior students too). There is a traditional approach to parallel paths in classical styles, but it's not calling around on your own.

Hopefully something I wrote helps you. I probably can't do better in this thread, but if you'd like to DM me and talk more specifically, feel free.
Excellently advice, and very well stated.
 

Flying Crane

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My feelings on training multiple systems is that it is a good thing to do in order to get a broad experience, so that ultimately you can find the system that is the best fit for you, and then focus your efforts there. The broad experience is good background, but particularly if you are training a traditional method, focusing on one is the better way to go, in my opinion.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Thanks for your responses. Im in a transition phase in my life (things are going pretty well...) and Im just trying to find my way the within the martial arts community. I have received some input from various teachers etc. and a number of said teachers have pointed me in the direction of sticking to my primary style of martial arts (worth noting that these teachers run semi-private clubs). I am wondering if I should take this advice wholeheartedly and practice what they are advising, or if I should be looking at more universal styles of martial arts as opposed to small groups in addition to my primary style. I have just got a reply from a Judo school and a Kendo club and they seem welcoming so far. These are more like competition sports which is something that I currently dont practice.

To simplify: Are you advocates of Training one style of martial arts or multiple styles? Have you found it difficult to train multiple styles? Have you found difficulty joining martial arts clubs in your area? Any other related questions that I havent thought of please feel free to answer. Thanks !
Thats a pretty individual question. Personally, I advocate either cross-training or multiple arts for those with interest, without reservation or exception.
 

Bill Mattocks

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We are in the Detroit area. We have students who have come to us from other styles, and we respect the training that they have. We don't ask them to reject their previous training, and in fact, if they have something interesting to show us and it works, we're happy to learn it.

However, we train students in Isshinryu karate. Those who train with us, train our techniques. We don't have the ability to mix and match or teach hybrid styles or simply 'work out' with people from other styles if they're not going to do what we do. We're more that happy to have a visitor on the floor, and we understand that they don't know our techniques any more than we know theirs. But if they're going to train with us rather than simply visit and work out once or twice, they'll need to do what we do.

That is primarily because we lack the ability to split our training and attention to multiple aspects of the floor. We are a small dojo and our capabilities are limited in that sense.
 
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snake_monkey

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We are in the Detroit area. We have students who have come to us from other styles, and we respect the training that they have. We don't ask them to reject their previous training, and in fact, if they have something interesting to show us and it works, we're happy to learn it.

However, we train students in Isshinryu karate. Those who train with us, train our techniques. We don't have the ability to mix and match or teach hybrid styles or simply 'work out' with people from other styles if they're not going to do what we do. We're more that happy to have a visitor on the floor, and we understand that they don't know our techniques any more than we know theirs. But if they're going to train with us rather than simply visit and work out once or twice, they'll need to do what we do.

That is primarily because we lack the ability to split our training and attention to multiple aspects of the floor. We are a small dojo and our capabilities are limited in that sense.

I understand and I wouldn't expect a traditional martial arts school such as yours to have to bend the rules and curriculum to newer students and visitors alike. It is nice to see such a welcoming attitude, and if I was in the Detroit area I would consider training Karate regularly with you because of it.

As mentioned, I have experienced training multiple 'traditional' styles during the same time period and both my Sifu and my Sensei held high standards for me. It was tough, but I did it for a while, though I did have to take a break from my secondary style due to some things. I could see how this could have a negative effect on a close-knit practice group, however, I really try to be a 'good student' when I'm in any Dojo or Kwan.

Learning takes a long time. The road is not easy at times, and more specifically I practice in a very old way. This can be very repetitive, and it can help me to add some flare in order to increase my motivation for training altogether at times. In any case thanks for reaching out and if I am ever in Detroit I could consider stopping by for a visit (as I do travel and train in that great city from time to time.)
 
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snake_monkey

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You'll get lots of opinions on how and where to train. They'll be familiar to you, because we repeat the same arguments over and over here, with the usual suspects advocating their same point of view thread after thread. Decide where you come down on those points of view and go with it. I'm going to stay away from that sub-discussion in your eventual response, but, some reactions to some things you wrote:



This is how traditional martial artists train. I'm curious if your sifu knows that you've been contacting other clubs and if so has given you advice or guidance on it. If you are contacting other "traditional" clubs, especially non-commercial ones, they may be reticent for a few reasons, including respect for your current sifu.



I can only share my perspective, but how someone approaches me determines largely how I will respond to them. I don't think I ever fail to promptly respond to anyone who contacts me about training, but I do get emails that I can't really even be sure are legitimate inquiries about training. I posted a thread on one aspect of this last year and got a lot of good feedback that I've taken to heart, but I get emails that say "where r u?" or "how much?" or "hey, I'm gonna stop by your class and check it out. thanx dude." (class times, location, and dues are not published) The short version is that those people are going to have to do better if they want me to take them seriously. It's just not how you approach a traditional martial arts teacher to inquire about becoming a student, especially one who is not after your money. Not saying that you do that, but trying to speculate on why you aren't getting the responses you want.

A commercial judo or MMA or boxing club will probably be more responsive and not care that you have a sifu and are already doing something else.



When someone approaches me in some reasonable way (there's a broad range, it's not a secret password or anything), but says they already have a sifu and a style, I would have a lot of questions for them about what they were trying to accomplish and whether their sifu supported them branching out and that conversation might lead us to "if you like your style and trust your sifu, I'm afraid that what we do might get in the way of that."

When (happens all of the time) someone contacts me and says "I'd like to learn some Wing Chun, so I can take the good bits and leave the rest of the garbage that you do behind, because I have a special blend of other things that are better..." or some such thing, then it usually doesn't work out for us, because that's not what I'm looking for in a student. Not to mention the fact that it's insulting.

Anytime anyone contacts me for training, regardless of how they did it, I take an interest in what they are looking for and whether or not I think I can help them. I ALWAYS recommend other choices, because I want to train people who really want what I have. And there are other choices and there are other approaches to training. As someone said above, my goal isn't business, it's passing on what was made available to me and trying to help people in the way that I am best positioned to help them. What I do isn't for everyone and I don't change who we are or what we do to accommodate a new student's ideas of what would be better. It's just not how any traditional martial arts instructor who I have ever met operates.



This is a different question and you already know the answer. There are traditional martial artists (which you self identified as) and there are modernists. This and every forum is full of the later and if it's balanced with the former then the advocates for modern MMA/mixed-other approaches are going to drown out the traditionalists. I will let the rest of the responses inform you on that question and you'll have to make up your own mind.

I've gone both ways, I spend a lot of my 20s collecting and sparring and brawling and style hopping then settled into a classical system. I also train in a 2nd classical system, but my SiFu had a hand in that, supports it and connected me with it (I have done the same for one of my senior students too). There is a traditional approach to parallel paths in classical styles, but it's not calling around on your own.

Hopefully something I wrote helps you. I probably can't do better in this thread, but if you'd like to DM me and talk more specifically, feel free.

Thank you for taking the time to compose this. This has been a very insightful post for me, and if I think of anything I will surely take you up on that offer! :happy:
 

oftheherd1

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You mentioned training in a gym but not for MA application. You may not be aware that there are arts that incorporate a lot of breakfall training in their training. It is not really for aggression,, but to prevent injury. Judo, Aikido, Hapkido, I think BjJ, and no doubt others. You might want to take a look at what they do and why, and see if you would like to study that.
 

Buka

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I spent my career finding the best gyms and dojos, the best instructors and the best fighters, regardless of what name their styles go by. Seems to have worked, made a lot of good friends, a whole lot of resources and have enough to study going forward to last me longer than I can possibly live.

The dojos were both traditional and non traditional, the gyms both big and lesser known, and the fighters....well, they were really good at fighting. And they all shared their knowledge without hesitation.

Theres a lot of really good people out there, unselfish good people. Just have to go find them......and bring it all back to your home dojo.
 
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snake_monkey

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I spent my career finding the best gyms and dojos, the best instructors and the best fighters, regardless of what name their styles go by. Seems to have worked, made a lot of good friends, a whole lot of resources and have enough to study going forward to last me longer than I can possibly live.

The dojos were both traditional and non traditional, the gyms both big and lesser known, and the fighters....well, they were really good at fighting. And they all shared their knowledge without hesitation.

Theres a lot of really good people out there, unselfish good people. Just have to go find them......and bring it all back to your home dojo.

That is quite nice for you and it's good to hear! I'm glad there are some open minded people (who are also good at fighting), willing to share. I expect that if I keep working hard at all the things I do, I will make the right contacts when it is necessary. I have found some opportunities here and some welcoming schools. Now it is up to me to find the time, funds to put it into action. Easier said than done, but thankfully my Kung Fu gives me lots of energy!
 

Buka

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That is quite nice for you and it's good to hear! I'm glad there are some open minded people (who are also good at fighting), willing to share. I expect that if I keep working hard at all the things I do, I will make the right contacts when it is necessary. I have found some opportunities here and some welcoming schools. Now it is up to me to find the time, funds to put it into action. Easier said than done, but thankfully my Kung Fu gives me lots of energy!

Sometimes the best way to meet folks is to go to local tournaments, even if you don't compete. Might have to go to a few just so people see you. Ask questions, at a convenient time of course, congratulate winners etc. If you compete in forms you'll meet a ton of folks that way.

What usually happens is you can ask if you can come up and watch sometime, sometimes they ask you. It all leads to good relationships and many times, good training.

And it's kind of fun. :)
 

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