Seeking advice

amita

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Hello Everyone.
I just joined. I am an older lady who has always tried to stay fit. My work out is much lighter than it used to be, esp. as I have some arthritis, esp. in the low back. Have always like weight lifting and am now trying to increase walking . I live in a semi-rural area where there isn't much offered other than karate, which I think is too repetitive for someone with arthritis. I do want to learn some self -defense but don't know what would be appropriate for me. I am 5 feet tall and 105 lbs. with very small hands. I enjoy watching Rousy, Holly Holms, and other ladies in the MMA fights. But of course am past the age of competition. Can anyone advise as to what martial art style might be best for me to learn. {Probably you're thinking;"at your size, get a gun", lol.] But I would like to learn a self defense style. Thanks for your input.
 

JR 137

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There is no best style; only what fits you best. And we’ll truly never be able to tell you what’ll fit you best. Only you can figure that out. And let’s suspend reality and say X style is best; what if it’s not around you? What if it is, but the students are a bunch of 10 year old Ninja Turtle wannabes or a bunch of college aged guys training to fight in a cage? Would either of those scenarios be the right style for you if it was available to you?

Getting all of that out of the way, here’s the best advice I can give you...

Make a list of every martial arts school in your area. Cross off the ones that conflict with your schedule and the ones you can’t afford. Visit the rest. Talk to the teacher. Ask them questions that pertain to your goals and limitations. Watch a few classes. See how he/she interacts with the students. See how he/she runs class. Watch what types of things they do. Keep a close eye on the students - are they easily confused? Are they any good? Are they the type of people you’d like to train alongside?

After you visit a decent amount of schools, you’ll get a sense of what’s going on where. You’ll get a sense of what you’re looking for and not looking for. Most places offer a free trial lesson. Some offer a few intro lessons for a little bit of money. Take advantage of that.

Whatever you decide on, tell your teacher that you’ve got physical limitations. If there’s a contract involved, ask them if it can be waived for medical reasons. I say this because what happens if everything’s fine for a few months, then your arthritis really acts up and you can’t continue?

Good luck with it. I wish I could tell you to just go to dojo X and it would be the perfect place. No one is capable of telling you that.
 
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amita

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There is no best style; only what fits you best. And we’ll truly never be able to tell you what’ll fit you best. Only you can figure that out. And let’s suspend reality and say X style is best; what if it’s not around you? What if it is, but the students are a bunch of 10 year old Ninja Turtle wannabes or a bunch of college aged guys training to fight in a cage? Would either of those scenarios be the right style for you if it was available to you?

Getting all of that out of the way, here’s the best advice I can give you...

Make a list of every martial arts school in your area. Cross off the ones that conflict with your schedule and the ones you can’t afford. Visit the rest. Talk to the teacher. Ask them questions that pertain to your goals and limitations. Watch a few classes. See how he/she interacts with the students. See how he/she runs class. Watch what types of things they do. Keep a close eye on the students - are they easily confused? Are they any good? Are they the type of people you’d like to train alongside?

After you visit a decent amount of schools, you’ll get a sense of what’s going on where. You’ll get a sense of what you’re looking for and not looking for. Most places offer a free trial lesson. Some offer a few intro lessons for a little bit of money. Take advantage of that.

Whatever you decide on, tell your teacher that you’ve got physical limitations. If there’s a contract involved, ask them if it can be waived for medical reasons. I say this because what happens if everything’s fine for a few months, then your arthritis really acts up and you can’t continue?

Good luck with it. I wish I could tell you to just go to dojo X and it would be the perfect place. No one is capable of telling you that.
 
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amita

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Thanks,JR137. Good points. The only thing I know of is Karate, and I did go there and am familiar with some of the training. Not interested and while I am healthy and in decent shape for someone my age, as you pointed out, I do need to take the arthritis into account. I am thinking about something invented by a female
Buddhist nun, called Wing Chun. Maybe combined with learning some holds. Also, I have been watching some of Holly Holmes work outs and thinking about some boxing. There just is nothing in my rural area that I know of. So tho I know its a poor idea, thought of getting some books with step by step basics in some of the above, and doing my best with them. The problem with boxing is: can I do it with small hands? I think this is the best I can do here. I'm probably wasting everyone's time. I am in southern Oregon if anyone is in the area who teaches anything.
 

JR 137

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If the karate dojo wasn’t for you, then it wasn’t for you. If there are other karate schools around, check them out, as there’s a lot of variation in karate. Some places advertise as karate when in fact they’re not, as crazy as that sounds. Don’t take that as pushing karate on you; I’m just trying to convey that you should keep an open mind. Reading about different styles and watch videos and the like is one thing. Going in and seeing what they’re actually doing is quite another thing. I’m sure you’ve got a lot of preconceptions; forget them.

As far as I know, Holly Holm’s base style is boxing and/or kickboxing. Ronda Rousey’s base style is Judo, if you’re looking into training like them :)

I’ve never heard of having small hands being a problem. I highly doubt a boxing instructor would refuse to allow you to train because of that.

Again, keep an open mind and take a look around. Boxing falls under MA as far as I’m concerned, as does kickboxing, wrestling, etc. Check out everything you can.

And no, you’re not wasting anyone’s time :)
 

mrt2

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Thanks,JR137. Good points. The only thing I know of is Karate, and I did go there and am familiar with some of the training. Not interested and while I am healthy and in decent shape for someone my age, as you pointed out, I do need to take the arthritis into account. I am thinking about something invented by a female
Buddhist nun, called Wing Chun. Maybe combined with learning some holds. Also, I have been watching some of Holly Holmes work outs and thinking about some boxing. There just is nothing in my rural area that I know of. So tho I know its a poor idea, thought of getting some books with step by step basics in some of the above, and doing my best with them. The problem with boxing is: can I do it with small hands? I think this is the best I can do here. I'm probably wasting everyone's time. I am in southern Oregon if anyone is in the area who teaches anything.
It is hard to learn a martial art from books and videos, especially if you are starting as a beginner. It really is best to start somewhere, so give your local places a try, as they are really your only choices, unless you plan to move.

I recently had to make the same call, having trained decades ago in Tang Soo Do. Problem was, there just weren't any Tang Soo Do places around, so I joined a Tae Kwon Do gym.

I am wondering why you think Wing Chun will be more your thing than Karate, if you have no experience with Wing Chun. And FWIW, there is no guarantee that any Wing Chun taught in 2017 in the US will bear any relation to the Wing Chun supposedly invented by monks, or in this case, nuns. A lot of stuff I was told about the origins of the styles I practiced, and practice turned out not to be true.

I cannot help much beyond this. If there is no Wing Chun, or other Chinese martial arts studio in your area, you need to move on and find something that works for you, that is something you can realistically get to on a regular basis.
 
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amita

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If the karate dojo wasn’t for you, then it wasn’t for you. If there are other karate schools around, check them out, as there’s a lot of variation in karate. Some places advertise as karate when in fact they’re not, as crazy as that sounds. Don’t take that as pushing karate on you; I’m just trying to convey that you should keep an open mind. Reading about different styles and watch videos and the like is one thing. Going in and seeing what they’re actually doing is quite another thing. I’m sure you’ve got a lot of preconceptions; forget them.

As far as I know, Holly Holm’s base style is boxing and/or kickboxing. Ronda Rousey’s base style is Judo, if you’re looking into training like them :)

I’ve never heard of having small hands being a problem. I highly doubt a boxing instructor would refuse to allow you to train because of that.

Again, keep an open mind and take a look around. Boxing falls under MA as far as I’m concerned, as does kickboxing, wrestling, etc. Check out everything you can.

And no, you’re not wasting anyone’s time :)
 
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amita

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Thanks
If the karate dojo wasn’t for you, then it wasn’t for you. If there are other karate schools around, check them out, as there’s a lot of variation in karate. Some places advertise as karate when in fact they’re not, as crazy as that sounds. Don’t take that as pushing karate on you; I’m just trying to convey that you should keep an open mind. Reading about different styles and watch videos and the like is one thing. Going in and seeing what they’re actually doing is quite another thing. I’m sure you’ve got a lot of preconceptions; forget them.

As far as I know, Holly Holm’s base style is boxing and/or kickboxing. Ronda Rousey’s base style is Judo, if you’re looking into training like them :)

I’ve never heard of having small hands being a problem. I highly doubt a boxing instructor would refuse to allow you to train because of that.

Again, keep an open mind and take a look around. Boxing falls under MA as far as I’m concerned, as does kickboxing, wrestling, etc. Check out everything you can.

And no, you’re not wasting anyone’s time :)
 
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amita

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Thanks JR137. I did go to our only Karate Dojo, practiced side by side with the others. And am somewhat familiar with the practices from when I was a lot younger. Very nice instructor. Just that at my age what with all the reps,I don't think it will be good for me physically. While I know training is ongoing, no matter what style, karate takes a little longer than I'd like at my age to gain some competence.
 
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amita

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It is hard to learn a martial art from books and videos, especially if you are starting as a beginner. It really is best to start somewhere, so give your local places a try, as they are really your only choices, unless you plan to move.

I recently had to make the same call, having trained decades ago in Tang Soo Do. Problem was, there just weren't any Tang Soo Do places around, so I joined a Tae Kwon Do gym.

I am wondering why you think Wing Chun will be more your thing than Karate, if you have no experience with Wing Chun. And FWIW, there is no guarantee that any Wing Chun taught in 2017 in the US will bear any relation to the Wing Chun supposedly invented by monks, or in this case, nuns. A lot of stuff I was told about the origins of the styles I practiced, and practice turned out not to be true.

I cannot help much beyond this. If there is no Wing Chun, or other Chinese martial arts studio in your area, you need to move on and find something that works for you, that is something you can realistically get to on a regular basis.
 
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amita

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MRT2, From what I could learn about Wing Chun, it is designed more to go into the combat moves without as much repetition as say, Karate. It was designed for smaller people. I totally agree learning from books isn't a good idea. But I know of nothing else around. And karate practice spends half the hour in repetitions of what has gone before. Not saying that is bad, just not right for someone who tends toward arthritis. I have put my general location in one of my posts, asking if anyone teaches anything in the area.
 
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amita

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It is hard to learn a martial art from books and videos, especially if you are starting as a beginner. It really is best to start somewhere, so give your local places a try, as they are really your only choices, unless you plan to move.

I recently had to make the same call, having trained decades ago in Tang Soo Do. Problem was, there just weren't any Tang Soo Do places around, so I joined a Tae Kwon Do gym.

I am wondering why you think Wing Chun will be more your thing than Karate, if you have no experience with Wing Chun. And FWIW, there is no guarantee that any Wing Chun taught in 2017 in the US will bear any relation to the Wing Chun supposedly invented by monks, or in this case, nuns. A lot of stuff I was told about the origins of the styles I practiced, and practice turned out not to be true.

I cannot help much beyond this. If there is no Wing Chun, or other Chinese martial arts studio in your area, you need to move on and find something that works for you, that is something you can realistically get to on a regular basis.
 

Flying Crane

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MRT2, From what I could learn about Wing Chun, it is designed more to go into the combat moves without as much repetition as say, Karate. It was designed for smaller people. I totally agree learning from books isn't a good idea. But I know of nothing else around. And karate practice spends half the hour in repetitions of what has gone before. Not saying that is bad, just not right for someone who tends toward arthritis. I have put my general location in one of my posts, asking if anyone teaches anything in the area.
Every martial system requires a whole lot of repetition in the training. There is nothing about wing chun that would be any different, and my own experience with wing chun would make me caution you against it simply because you have stated a couple times that you are concerned about your arthritis. There are a lot of small wrist and finger movements, and while every school will be somewhat different, where I had trained it we did a lot of those movements with some tension. I imagine that could seriously aggravate your arthritis.

A good teacher of any system ought to be able to modify the training to accommodate (within reason) any age or health or arthritis issues. You simply need to find a good instructor who is willing to work with you on what is possible and reasonable.
 

Deafdude#5

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I would suggest that you expand & continue your search for a MA that fits you. You will have to make some compromises with what the local area has to offer in terms of MA schools. In my experience, most schools/instructors should be willing to work with your physical limitations & help you find a way to work with it. After all, we’re all human.

Repetition is part of any MA format as it builds muscle strength & memory.

Self defense is a very stressful situation that encompasses a very broad spectrum. The muscle memory learned through repetitive movement comes into play when your brain is still trying to cope with the event.
 

dvcochran

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Hello Everyone.
I just joined. I am an older lady who has always tried to stay fit. My work out is much lighter than it used to be, esp. as I have some arthritis, esp. in the low back. Have always like weight lifting and am now trying to increase walking . I live in a semi-rural area where there isn't much offered other than karate, which I think is too repetitive for someone with arthritis. I do want to learn some self -defense but don't know what would be appropriate for me. I am 5 feet tall and 105 lbs. with very small hands. I enjoy watching Rousy, Holly Holms, and other ladies in the MMA fights. But of course am past the age of competition. Can anyone advise as to what martial art style might be best for me to learn. {Probably you're thinking;"at your size, get a gun", lol.] But I would like to learn a self defense style. Thanks for your input.
It sounds like your options are very limited so I say try the karate. You know your current limits. Also, movement and repetition is very good for arthritis. I would expect a struggle with increased pain in the beginning as you are moving parts of your body through increased ranges of motion. But that is a very good thing for arthritis. Tough but very doable. Stretching will be very good for your lower back. You are not overweight so hopefully that will stem some of the range of motion pain. Very best of luck and let us know how it is going.
 

mrt2

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MRT2, From what I could learn about Wing Chun, it is designed more to go into the combat moves without as much repetition as say, Karate. It was designed for smaller people. I totally agree learning from books isn't a good idea. But I know of nothing else around. And karate practice spends half the hour in repetitions of what has gone before. Not saying that is bad, just not right for someone who tends toward arthritis. I have put my general location in one of my posts, asking if anyone teaches anything in the area.
I don't buy that. In my experience (and I admit, 99.99% of my experience is in Korean martial arts, which is similar to Karate), repetition is the foundation of martial arts. As others have said, it builds muscle memory, strength, and flexibility so that when you need to, the blocks, punches and kicks are automatic. I don't have a lot of direct experience with Kung Fu, but from what I saw of it in competition, it looks even harder to become proficient than Karate or Tae Kwon Do. I don't say this to be disrespectful because this may not be a representative sample,, but the Kung Fu students I saw (and they might not have been Wing Chun for all I know) did horribly in competition against Tae Kwon Do, Tang Soo Do and Karate students of the same level of experience.
 

Buka

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Hi Amita, welcome to MartialTalk. :)

Looks like you have some good advice given already. So go check out the places in your area and watch several classes in each one. See which ones you think you would enjoy the most. That is key.

And if there's a Tai-chi place, please check it out.
 

jobo

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MRT2, From what I could learn about Wing Chun, it is designed more to go into the combat moves without as much repetition as say, Karate. It was designed for smaller people. I totally agree learning from books isn't a good idea. But I know of nothing else around. And karate practice spends half the hour in repetitions of what has gone before. Not saying that is bad, just not right for someone who tends toward arthritis. I have put my general location in one of my posts, asking if anyone teaches anything in the area.
I think this point has already been made? But repetition is what every ma is based on, all of them, you may find some of the stances problematic, if you have tightness in your back, I did, but light and determine reps will free it up over a few months and movement is the best perhaps the only thing for arthritis, you either move it or you lose more movement over time. just sit it out for a bit if it gets to much

Wing chUn if anything has sillier stances and more reps than anything else.

I wouldn't worry about small hands with boxing, they give you BIG gloves to wear
 
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amita

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Every martial system requires a whole lot of repetition in the training. There is nothing about wing chun that would be any different, and my own experience with wing chun would make me caution you against it simply because you have stated a couple times that you are concerned about your arthritis. There are a lot of small wrist and finger movements, and while every school will be somewhat different, where I had trained it we did a lot of those movements with some tension. I imagine that could seriously aggravate your arthritis.

A good teacher of any system ought to be able to modify the training to accommodate (within reason) any age or health or arthritis issues. You simply need to find a good instructor who is willing to work with you on what is possible and reasonable.

Every martial system requires a whole lot of repetition in the training. There is nothing about wing chun that would be any different, and my own experience with wing chun would make me caution you against it simply because you have stated a couple times that you are concerned about your arthritis. There are a lot of small wrist and finger movements, and while every school will be somewhat different, where I had trained it we did a lot of those movements with some tension. I imagine that could seriously aggravate your arthritis.

A good teacher of any system ought to be able to modify the training to accommodate (within reason) any age or health or arthritis issues. You simply need to find a good instructor who is willing to work with you on what is possible and reasonable.
 
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