Newbie Help

Joe Slice

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First I want to introduce myself. My name is Joe and I am a 23 year old male form Omaha, NE. In the past I have done amateur boxing since I was 17. Right now I am looking to get into martial arts. Ever since I was little I idolized Jean Claude Van Damm; I wanted to have a style just like his. I wanted to join a program that will keep me interested, challenge me, and will teach me a good deal of self defense. Another reason I want to learn martial arts is that I want to be a police officer one day and right now I catch shoplifters as part of my job, so I was hoping martial arts would help me in this section. I am just looking for any advice or info anyone can give me.

Thanks,

Joe
 

David43515

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If your job involves cathcing and controling peole, I`d suggest you look at a style that does jsut that. Some kind of wrestling, grappling style like Jiujitsu or Sambo. I grew up on Jean Claude Van Damme too, but kicking and punching suspects is generally frowned on by police departments and DAs alike. Although, something like Hapkido would give you good kicki and punching training while working lots of joint locks and pain compliance holds at the same time.
 

Chris Parker

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I wish you all the best in your journey, but if you want to have JCVDs style, uh, take up ballet. That's his original background. That's where his flexibility comes from.

In terms of the use for LEO's, David's comments are absolutely correct. Look to jujutsu systems, Hapkido, possibly Aikido, and others. But first and foremost, find out what is allowed by your SOPs. You may find that learning outside material is encouraged, but you may find that it is also discouraged by some. When working within the legal bounds of someone like a police officer, there are certain restrictions on what you are allowed to do, and many martial arts will teach you tactics, techniques, and strategies that don't actually fit in with those restrictions. So check those out first.

Your first order of training will be that which the department gives you. That will be the techniques you are allowed to use, and should be your framework going forward.
 
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Joe Slice

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Thanks for all of the advice. Not only do I want to learn martial arts for my occupation, but also something I can do as a hobby and as a workout.

What do you guys think of Jeet Kune Do?? They also teach this in my area.

Thanks again!
 

Chris Parker

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Hey Joe,

In all honesty, it is far less the system as it is the school and the instructor. There will be teachers and schools in all systems that are fantastic, and ones that are little more than a waste of time and money, so your best bet is to simply visit each of the schools in your area that are of interest to you, and figure out if it is somewhere you want to train for yourself. The exact style is actually the least important aspect, although you will probably find yourself prefering one over another (for example, I'm drawn to the Japanese arts, so Chinese and Korean systems hold little interest for me in terms of training. But that's me, and all it means is that I'm going to look to Japanese-flavoured arts, not that there is anything inherantly better in one or another, or anything inherantly "wrong" with one or another). So go visit them, talk to the instructor(s), and go from there.
 

JWLuiza

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Thanks for all of the advice. Not only do I want to learn martial arts for my occupation, but also something I can do as a hobby and as a workout.

What do you guys think of Jeet Kune Do?? They also teach this in my area.

Thanks again!

As stated above, instructors are important. I would say for ALL arts, not just JKD though. Many places will allow you to try out lessons for free or minimal cost. Find as many programs as you can that sound interesting to you and go visit them. ALL of them. Find a place that you like the instructor and the other students (and the training/style) and use that as your benchmark. I've only been to Omaha once, so I don't know what you get to choose from. So good luck!
 

Omar B

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I would say start by checking out all the schools close to you, after all, it's about the instructors skill at imparting information.

Why not take up boxing again? It's a great style, maybe ad some judo? JJ, BJJ or Hapkido are also good options.
 
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Joe Slice

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Since you all have been helpful thus far, let me pick your brain some more.

Tell me about Taekwondo... What does it all entail? I feel like I would get bored with this. We have TONS of Taekwondo facilities here in Omaha.
 

Chris Parker

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(This is just because of the mood I'm in....)

Oh boy. Okay. Let's see if we can just head this off here, shall we?

Japanese Martial Arts:

Karate - originally from Okinawa with main influence from China, developed to defend against the occupying Japanese forces. Came to Japan in the early 20th Century when Gichin Funakoshi performed a demonstration in about 1912 (from memory). In 1917 it was introduced to the Universities, and the new emerging style of Shotokan (club of Shoto, Funakoshi's pen name when he wrote poetry) was founded. Most systems trace themselves back to Naha-te, Shuri-te, or Tomari-te. Most popular modern systems include Shotokan, which features deeper stances and very strong low kicks and powerful strikes, probably the most "traditional" of the main styles, Kyokushinkai, known as probably the hardest style of the lot with training including full contact sparring and tournaments (no punching to the head, but kicks are allowed) with little to no protective equipment, Wado Ryu, the Way of Peace, which is more circular than the other forms and has more grappling in it's main syllabus (throws and locks), Goju Ryu and Goju Kai, from Gogen "the Cat" Yamaguchi, very dynamic art, and then the more traditional "Okinawan" styles as well, such as Isshin Ryu and so on. Many of these also have off-shoots.

Karate's primary strategies include a "stand-and-fight" approach, moving along direct lines (forward, backward, left and right), being more focused on strikes and kicks than grappling methodologies, and having only a few weapons (depending on the system or teacher, nunchaku, sai, tonfa/tuifa, kama and bo) with a number also including a kobudo weapon system which is rather more expansive, including a form of shield, oar, and more.

Aikido - began it's life in the early/mid 20th Century, continuing development until after WWII. Various off-shoots trace their approach to when they left Ueshiba (the founder, often affectionately refered to as O Sensei, or Great Sensei). As a result, those that left earlier often have a "harder" approach to the way they employ the techniques, as the early days of the system had it being taught in a place known as Jigoku Dojo, or the Hell Dojo. This was not so much an affectionate name.

The main groups include Takemusu, or Iwama Ryu Aikido. This is considered the main line of Aikido, as it is headed by Ueshiba's decendants. This is sometimes refered to as the most "complete" of the various forms, as it includes the aspects of Aikiken (sword) and Aikijo (staff). Other forms may teach these weapons, but the Iwama group is the only one that teaches it in the form the Ueshiba intended at the end of his life. Next is the Yoseikan, the first style to "split" from Ueshiba, then the Yoshinkan, again with these two having the reputation for a very hard application of technique. The other main style is Tomiki Aikido, which differentiates itself by having knife taught as a weapon, and having competitive sparring in it's methods.

Primary strategies include utilising an opponents force rather than relying on your own physical strength, and often speaks of "harmonising" with the opponent. This is sometimes taken to mean a less-than effective methodology, but that is not understanding what the art actually does. I will say, though, that it will take a long time to get really good in this art, to the point where it is a highly effective modern defensive art. Striking is taught as part of the application of technique, but the bulk of the art is a grappling form (throws, locks etc).

Judo - a modern sporting based jujutsu system developed in the late 19th Century by Jigoro Kano, this art is the basis for other arts such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). Other than in the self defence application, there are no weapons involved, and the art is pretty much just sporting grappling (throws, locks, chokes). Striking is taught only in the self defence aspects.

Kendo - a modern sporting version of Japanese sword fighting, or fencing. Uses bamboo swords, known as shinai, and is based around sparring in a form of armour, known as a bogu.

Koryu systems - not easy to find, these are the old martial arts of Japan. They could teach anything from a single weapon, through to a wide variety of disciplines in the one school. For example, Negishi Ryu specialise in shuriken, and incorporate some sword into that, however the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu has sword, short sword, two sword, naginata, spear, staff, yawaragei (jujutsu), castle building, strategy, weather reading, ninjutsu (espionage tactics) and more. No competitive aspect, and no real modern self defence applications, but incredibly interesting and highly demanding to train properly.

Ninjutsu - Now, here we are refering to the mani ninjutsu-related organisations, the Bujinkan, Genbukan (and it's related Kokusei Jujutsu Renmei), and Jinenkan. These organisations all trace themselves back to Hatsumi and the Bujinkan, and back from there to Takamatsu Sensei. The curriculum includes techniques, strategies, and tactics taken from a variety of lineages, such as Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu, Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu, Koto Ryu Koppojutsu, Kukishinden Ryu Happo Biken, Hontai Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu, Shinden Fudo Ryu, and many others (with the Genbukan/KJJR having many more such as Asayama Ichiden Ryu, Bokuden Ryu, and more, and the Jinenkan including the Jissen Ryu, a creation of Manaka Sensei, founder of the Jinenkan). There is a very wide range of disciplines taught, including modern interpretations for self defence. If you think of it like a modern-taught, easily accessible koryu-style syllabus, then you're not too far off... Again, though, there is no competitive aspect.

There are, of course, many other Japanese arts, such as Shorinji Kempo, Iaido, Jodo, Jujutsu, Kyudo, and more, but they are either not really suited based on what we have discussed, or similar to those others already discussed.

Korean arts:

Tae Kwon Do - based on Shotokan Karate primarily, but with a much higher emphasis on kicking, particularly high kicks. Over the last few decades most forms of Tae Kwon Do have gone to a sporting variation, leading to narrower stances, even more focus on high, flashy kicks, and so on, to the point where the origins in karate are shown mainly in the forms (poomse). Again, depending on the instructor, weaponry is not a feature, and similar to karate, the focus is on striking/kicking rather than grappling.

Hapkido - a loose term refering to a range of approaches claiming descent from Daito Ryu Aikijutsu (the same art that Aikido is descended from). This art, while having some of the native Korean prediliction for kicks, has a much larger grappling syllabus, and often includes weapon defence, if not weapons itself. Almost a mix between Aikido and Tae Kwon Do, but with a flavour all it's own.

Kumdo - is the Korean approach to the sword, in many ways it is similar to Kendo but with different terminology.

There are many other Korean systems, but many are simply personal, or style, names for forms of Tae Kwon Do or Hapkido.

Chinese arts:

Oh, boy, this is a big one.... to begin with, many Chinese arts can be split a variety of ways, first and most common is Internal (soft) or External (hard) styles. Examples of hard styles include Wing Chun, Hung Gar, Tong Long (Praying Mantis) and more. Examples of "soft" styles include Taiji (Tai Chi), Xingyi (Hsing i), Bagua, and more. Similar to koryu in Japan, there are really no limitations on what is taught, it really comes down to the individual school/style and instructor. But for a few examples....

Wing Chun - one of very few martial arts attributed to a woman, Wing Chun dates back to one of the destructions of the Shaolin Temple. A nun, named Ng Mui escapes, and makes her way south. She later meets a young lady who will become her disciple, named Wing Chun, and it is from her that Ng Mui gets the name for her art.

Main principles include a very narrow stance, a use of chain punching, low line kicks, and a constant defence of what is refered to as your "centre-line", an imaginary line running down the exact centre of your body, which connects all your major internal vital organs. Training principles include such well-known concepts as "sticking hands" (Chi Sau), and the famous Wooden Dummy). This was Bruce Lee's original art.

Hung Gar - is almost the exact opposite of Wing Chun. It has long, deep stances, and wide, swinging movements rather than the direct-line attacks of Wing Chun. This is probably the second most popular system worldwide.

Taiji - has a long history, and is an honestly quite nasty system.... provided you have an instructor that understands the combative applications!

Xingyi and Bagua are increadibly involved systems that I really cannot do justice here, best is to find them for yourself. But you cannot get any real knowledge of systems like that by reading about them.

The other "main" martial art system you may encounter is known as Wu Shu. Now, Wu Shu simply means "martial art", so it could very accurately be said that all we are discussing here are wu shu, however, there are schools that teach a specific system that they refer to by this name. A highly acrobatic form, this art was originally developed for the Beijing Opera, so its kind of a performance based system, rather than a true martial art to the purists. One final note, you may notice that I haven't mentioned Kung Fu. That is a generic term refering to the rewards of hard work, rather than a form of martial art.

Filipino Martial Arts:

These include Kali, Arnis, Silat, and more, and often focus on weaponry (although arts such as Silat are quite involved in their unarmed techniques), such as sticks and short blades, whether knives or short bladed swords.

Modern arts:

MMA - To begin with, MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is not really "mixed martial arts" at all. What it really is is Multi Ranged Unarmed Combative Themed Sports. It is a discipline in and of itself, not just taking a bit of this, and a bit of that, and hoping it all works together. It is a competitive style, based in hard training, like any athletic discipline. It includes striking, throws, ground work, locks, chokes etc, but no group or weapon defence, as they will simply not be found in the ring.

BJJ - as said earlier, this is based on Judo, but when brought to Brazil, the local preference for ground fighting took it in another direction. So it is essentially Judo with a high emphasis on ground fighting, focusing on various chokes, sweeps, and locks. On the ground, these guys are great. However, as a self defence system, these tactics are not ideal in many situations.

RBSD Systems - there are a number of these around, such as Richard Dmitri's Senshido, Deane Lawlers R-SULT, Tony Blauer's SPEAR, Jim Wagner, and many more. Most are designed to give their knowledge in the form of tactics or strategies that can be modified to fit any existing training you may have, so they assume previous knowledge. Many deal primarily with the initial assault, with the assumption that after that, your martial art training will take over.

Jeet Kune Do - this is probably best thought of as following the guiding principles and philosophies of Bruce Lee, rather than a collection of techniques. Often it is taught by people experienced in other arts, and that colours the way a particular instructor may teach it.



But after all this, these are just words. If you want to actually know anything about these arts, go to the schools and watch, try them out, talk to the instructor. That is the only way. Go to each and every school you can, and make up your own mind. It is really the best advise we can offer. Okay?
 

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