Starting out - not sure how.

LMTL89

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Hi.

I've decided I'd like to learn a martial art.
Which one and where to go to learn is the question.

Living in a small town in the UK, my options are quite limited.
There is a martial arts school here, though I've been told in the past that you need to be cautious about which school you go to, as you can pick up bad habits if the teachers aren't great.
I have no idea the validity of this school, so I'm unsure as to whether to just go for it and join or not.
It would seem, though, that is my only option. I've heard you most certainly can not learn properly through videos online and DVD's.

The other issue is what martial art to go for.

I was wondering if any of you had some advice?

Thanks a lot!
 

Paul_D

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Hi.

I've decided I'd like to learn a martial art.
Which one and where to go to learn is the question.

Living in a small town in the UK, my options are quite limited.
There is a martial arts school here, though I've been told in the past that you need to be cautious about which school you go to, as you can pick up bad habits if the teachers aren't great.
I have no idea the validity of this school, so I'm unsure as to whether to just go for it and join or not.
It would seem, though, that is my only option. I've heard you most certainly can not learn properly through videos online and DVD's.

The other issue is what martial art to go for.

I was wondering if any of you had some advice?

Thanks a lot!
You seem to have answered your own question, as you only have one option.

Normally I would say try out what is available in your area and pick the one you enjoy most, as if you enjoy ti yo are most likely to stick with it, and therefore become good at it.

But if you only have one option then I would give it a go and see how you get on. All depends on your reasons for wanting to train of course. e.g. if you want to compete and win trophies, and the club doesn't; compete, not much point joining.
 

Midnight-shadow

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May I ask which small town in England? I doubt there is only one Martial Arts club near to you. Have you been to your local leisure centre? A lot of small clubs don't have their own place to train and so hire out spaces at the local sports and leisure centres. I live in a relatively small town in Sussex and at the centre I work at, there are no less than 4 Martial Arts clubs that come to hire the halls and train. Also, these smaller clubs generally don't have much online presence, and their only form of advertisement is actually in the sports centre where they train.
 

jobo

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Hi.

I've decided I'd like to learn a martial art.
Which one and where to go to learn is the question.

Living in a small town in the UK, my options are quite limited.
There is a martial arts school here, though I've been told in the past that you need to be cautious about which school you go to, as you can pick up bad habits if the teachers aren't great.
I have no idea the validity of this school, so I'm unsure as to whether to just go for it and join or not.
It would seem, though, that is my only option. I've heard you most certainly can not learn properly through videos online and DVD's.

The other issue is what martial art to go for.

I was wondering if any of you had some advice?

Thanks a lot!
what's above really, do you have a preference what style you learn,? if not then they are all good in their own way, just go, see if you like it
, don't go signing any,direct debit forms till your sure its what you want. if you don't take to go somewhere else
 
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LMTL89

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Thanks for all your replies.
I'm in Driffield UK.
I'll check the sports hall and see if there's anything going on there and investigate this other school some more.

As far as my reasons for wanting to train, martial arts just seems very appealing.
The self defence and just the fact that it's a cool thing to get into.

I don't really have a preference. It's just pretty bewildering that amount of styles out there!

Thanks again.
 

Midnight-shadow

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Thanks for all your replies.
I'm in Driffield UK.
I'll check the sports hall and see if there's anything going on there and investigate this other school some more.

As far as my reasons for wanting to train, martial arts just seems very appealing.
The self defence and just the fact that it's a cool thing to get into.

I don't really have a preference. It's just pretty bewildering that amount of styles out there!

Thanks again.

I took the liberty of a quick google search and you're right, the only thing on there in your area is the "National Martial Arts College" (because that's not pretentious at all...)

Home - AEGIS Martial Arts

My opinion on it, based on the very little research I've done, is very mixed. The Chief Instructor, Tony Higo, appears to be very good, with a background in professional sports fighting, having competed in boxing, wrestling and kickboxing matches. Since then he has developed the "Aegis" system which is what they teach at the College. Aegis claims to be a complete fighting system containing both striking, takedowns and grappling, based on techniques from boxing, karate, jujitsu and wrestling. Not a bad mixture of styles all things considered and you could definitely do a lot worse at a school.

My problem is when I look at some of their pictures and I see a room full of blackbelts, including a bunch of kids wearing them. This is a bit of a red flag for me as a lot of times it's the sign of a blackbelt mill where they will literally give you a blackbelt after training for a couple of years. Case in point, in their advertisement video, they had a few of their students talk to the camera, and each of them said their belt level. I don't fully understand their belt system as the first woman who appeared on the video claimed to be a "blue-black" belt, having trained for 2 years. Assuming a "blue-black" belt is 1 level below a "black" belt, that is an insanely short amount of time, regardless of the system you are in. It also makes you wonder what people do once they earn their blackbelt? Where is the progression? That said, I'm not a big fan of any kind of belt progression system, so I'm pretty biased on that front. The other thing is that although the head instructor is clearly very qualified, you probably won't be training directly under him, and instead your training will be handled by one of the many "blackbelt instructors" in the franchise. Are they any good? Do they know what they are talking about? Who knows. I couldn't find any information about them.

Finally, on their website they advertise "professional instructor training courses" where you are trained to teach the Aegis system in order to open your own school as part of the franchise. Again I'm not a big fan of this as it has that blackbelt mill vibe, and it doesn't say what the requirements are for starting the course. Do you have to have been training in the system for a minimum number of years before you can become an instructor, or could I literally sign on the course with no prior experience at all? Again, this worries me a little bit.
 

marques

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Living in a small town in the UK, my options are quite limited.
There is a martial arts school here, though I've been told in the past that you need to be cautious about which school you go to, as you can pick up bad habits if the teachers aren't great.
Bad habits are a big issue, really. Another is pointing the flaws of the available options as an excuse for no action. Often, the solution is less than ideal. Do you have only one option (now) and you really want training? Give it a try...

DVDs and the like, perhaps as a complement. The main things are a good instructor (which could be a senior student, at least...) and good partners (that challenge you without sending you to the hospital...).
 

Paul_D

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The self defence and just the fact that it's a cool thing to get into.
As you are in the U.K., If you are serious about self defence then to supplement your physical training I would recommend you get yourself a copy of Dead or Alive: The Definitive Self Protection Handbook, by Geoff Thompson.
 
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LMTL89

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I took the liberty of a quick google search and you're right, the only thing on there in your area is the "National Martial Arts College" (because that's not pretentious at all...)

Home - AEGIS Martial Arts

My opinion on it, based on the very little research I've done, is very mixed. The Chief Instructor, Tony Higo, appears to be very good, with a background in professional sports fighting, having competed in boxing, wrestling and kickboxing matches. Since then he has developed the "Aegis" system which is what they teach at the College. Aegis claims to be a complete fighting system containing both striking, takedowns and grappling, based on techniques from boxing, karate, jujitsu and wrestling. Not a bad mixture of styles all things considered and you could definitely do a lot worse at a school.

My problem is when I look at some of their pictures and I see a room full of blackbelts, including a bunch of kids wearing them. This is a bit of a red flag for me as a lot of times it's the sign of a blackbelt mill where they will literally give you a blackbelt after training for a couple of years. Case in point, in their advertisement video, they had a few of their students talk to the camera, and each of them said their belt level. I don't fully understand their belt system as the first woman who appeared on the video claimed to be a "blue-black" belt, having trained for 2 years. Assuming a "blue-black" belt is 1 level below a "black" belt, that is an insanely short amount of time, regardless of the system you are in. It also makes you wonder what people do once they earn their blackbelt? Where is the progression? That said, I'm not a big fan of any kind of belt progression system, so I'm pretty biased on that front. The other thing is that although the head instructor is clearly very qualified, you probably won't be training directly under him, and instead your training will be handled by one of the many "blackbelt instructors" in the franchise. Are they any good? Do they know what they are talking about? Who knows. I couldn't find any information about them.

Finally, on their website they advertise "professional instructor training courses" where you are trained to teach the Aegis system in order to open your own school as part of the franchise. Again I'm not a big fan of this as it has that blackbelt mill vibe, and it doesn't say what the requirements are for starting the course. Do you have to have been training in the system for a minimum number of years before you can become an instructor, or could I literally sign on the course with no prior experience at all? Again, this worries me a little bit.

Thanks a lot for looking into that for me.
Yeah, I have to admit, after seeing the pictures of all those people with black bells, alarm bells rang even in my inexperience.

I agree, the actual fighting system sounds pretty cool, though you'd be totally cheated if the ranking system was bad.

Cheers

Bad habits are a big issue, really. Another is pointing the flaws of the available options as an excuse for no action. Often, the solution is less than ideal. Do you have only one option (now) and you really want training? Give it a try...

DVDs and the like, perhaps as a complement. The main things are a good instructor (which could be a senior student, at least...) and good partners (that challenge you without sending you to the hospital...).

Thanks for the post.
Yeah I can see how excuses get in the way with a lot of people if they're trying to find the perfect place.
I suppose though it's where you draw the line. Would the aforementioned be with a shot even though it's likely very flawed in the way they seem to just hand out black belts?

As you are in the U.K., If you are serious about self defence then to supplement your physical training I would recommend you get yourself a copy of Dead or Alive: The Definitive Self Protection Handbook, by Geoff Thompson.

I'll check that book out, thank you.
 

jobo

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Thanks a lot for looking into that for me.
Yeah, I have to admit, after seeing the pictures of all those people with black bells, alarm bells rang even in my inexperience.

I agree, the actual fighting system sounds pretty cool, though you'd be totally cheated if the ranking system was bad.

Cheers



Thanks for the post.
Yeah I can see how excuses get in the way with a lot of people if they're trying to find the perfect place.
I suppose though it's where you draw the line. Would the aforementioned be with a shot even though it's likely very flawed in the way they seem to just hand out black belts?



I'll check that book out, thank you.
my chief concern is it looks dear, but I'm tight. Go and see if you like it or not, they might have a lot of black belts coz he is a good teacher, if you find its tosh, then look else where, have you checked the sports centres, church halls and what not
 
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LMTL89

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my chief concern is it looks dear, but I'm tight. Go and see if you like it or not, they might have a lot of black belts coz he is a good teacher, if you find its tosh, then look else where, have you checked the sports centres, church halls and what not

Yeah, well I thought that too.
How would I know whether it was bad or not?

And I'm going to check the sports hall tomorrow.
Thanks for the post.
 

Midnight-shadow

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Yeah, well I thought that too.
How would I know whether it was bad or not?

And I'm going to check the sports hall tomorrow.
Thanks for the post.

My advice would be to go for the free trial session that Aegis offers and see what you think about it. Don't worry too much about the blackbelt situation as you could always just ignore that aspect of it and focus on the techniques and your own personal progression (it is just a belt and a title after-all). You can decide for yourself whether you believe you are worthy of a blackbelt when you get it.
 

marques

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Thanks for the post.
Yeah I can see how excuses get in the way with a lot of people if they're trying to find the perfect place.
I suppose though it's where you draw the line. Would the aforementioned be with a shot even though it's likely very flawed in the way they seem to just hand out black belts?
I am not sure I understood you. Anyway, I am trying to answer.

"Give it a try" means visit the club. Then do a free trial, if there is... Then one month training if you still think it may word your time and money... Not a year contract, but your own research and experiment beyond the web and other people opinions (yet, listen them). In the worst case, you're sure that school is not for you. In the best case, you find the school is good enough or even great for you.

Imagine the black belts (1 Dan) should be in fact, say, blue belts. And only the 5 dan should be actually black belts 1st dan. But besides that the teaching is good, the people there is friendly and it is still better than no training?

I am lowering the "standards", I know. But it seems that you do not have many options...

Could you drive longer for the "perfect" club once a week? Again, not ideal (only 1/wk) but perhaps more quality options. Do you have a friend / conditions for practicing more without traveling to the "perfect" club?

Just giving ideas to exploit. But too much effort is harder to sustain in the long run...
 
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jobo

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Yeah, well I thought that too.
How would I know whether it was bad or not?

And I'm going to check the sports hall tomorrow.
Thanks for the post.
the same way as you would know if a guitar teacher was bad. Or q dance teacher or any teacher for that matter, you just know, on a subjective level I assess if the instructor could beat me up,or a least the black belts, if not I'm wasting my time. Is he giving those skills to me, does what he is teaching seem plausible body mechanics. The whole issue is about increasing your fitness level and learning effective movement patterns to the point that you can do them at speed with out thinking, is it acheiving those objectives. If there is a fat black belt who can hardly move let alone kick you in the face, then fear the worse, it hasn't worked for them, why would it for you
 
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