The right Martial Art

Kyosanim

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Hello I am a first degree black belt in TKD, and I am looking to try a new art. I have looked at judo a lot and it looks promising though I'm not so sure its the right art for me. I am hoping the good people on here will be able to help me figure out if this is the right art for me, or if I should try Jujutsu instead.

I want whatever I learn to be applicable to self defense, and grappling sounds like it would be a nice change of pace.

What are your thoughts? What are the real differences with judo and jujutsu?
What are their goals, and what is the focus of both? TKD focus's on improving character, and on striking. What is their focus?

Is judo just a sport?
 

Chris Parker

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Hi Kyosanim,

Hello I am a first degree black belt in TKD, and I am looking to try a new art. I have looked at judo a lot and it looks promising though I'm not so sure its the right art for me. I am hoping the good people on here will be able to help me figure out if this is the right art for me, or if I should try Jujutsu instead.

Well, honestly, what are you after, and what is available to you? This is kind of like asking us what car you should drive, you've heard that Subarus are good, but you also saw a Mazda.... there is simply not enough information here.

But realistically, the answer will depend on what you find around you. We can help with questions as to the curriculum of various schools, but how they are taught at any school that is near to yourself is another question. And unless you happen to get an answer from someone here who trains there, you will need to go and see for yourself. Try things out. Talk to the instructors and existing students. And then you will know if they are what you are wanting out of a new experience.

I want whatever I learn to be applicable to self defense, and grappling sounds like it would be a nice change of pace.

Applicable to self defence? What does that mean to you? Self defence, realistically, is found far more in the way things are trained and the mindset that is engendered, rather than specific techniques.

As to a nice change of pace, well, yes. How nice, though, may will remain to be seen. Some people really enjoy new experiences like these, others feel rather powerless once they are taken out of what was an area of confidence, and in the case of martial arts, it can be magnified as you already have a sense of "ability" when it comes to understanding and handling violence. That then immediately gets challenged, which can lead to a serious ego issue for some. Their model of reality when it comes to this area of life is shattered. So if you are prepared to be wrong, it can be great. Ideally, you will gain a lot of knowledge and experience, and I for one hope you do.

What are your thoughts? What are the real differences with judo and jujutsu?

The answer with all the history, or just the simple version? Tell you what, we'll go a bit in between.

To begin with, judo is jujutsu. The whole "do/jutsu" division really doesn't exist in the way that many of us Westerners think it does. When it comes to judo, in the late 1800's a man by the name of Kano Jigoro trained in a number of traditional (koryu) jujutsu and budo systems, most importantly for us here the Tenshin Shinyo Ryu and the Kito Ryu. He then used these systems as the basis for his new approach to jujutsu, which he refered to as Kano-ha Jujutsu, later renamed Kodokan Judo after the training hall (the Kodokan) where it was initially taught.

Kano developed a new rules structure for the taryu jiai matches between schools (which he strictly enforced when his guys were involved. One line of thought has it that because these rules took out a lot of the techniques and training ideas of the other schools, judo appeared to be "better", the judo guys were used to the rules and therefore had the advantage, and that is a major reason for the popularity and spread of judo so quickly. I personally believe it also had a lot to do with the highly refined syllabus, combined with the emphasis on safety that saw it become a part of many Japanese University programs, and that is where the spread came from), and promptly went on to defeat pretty much every other school that they came up against.

So what judo is is just another form of jujutsu, as is aikido, and many other systems. And that brings us to the next point, what do you think of when you say jujutsu?

Jujutsu is a rather general term, and could refer to any of a huge range of systems, ranging from lightly armed and armoured systems from the past (Takenouchi Ryu, Sekiguchi Ryu, Asayama Ichiden Ryu etc) which may or may not use the jujutsu name (they may use taijutsu, yawara, yawaragi, hade, te, kogusoku, kumiuchi, goho, dakentaijutsu, or any of a number of others), later systems such as Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu, Kodokan Judo, or Aikido, or modern systems such as Brazilian JiuJitsu, Small Circle Jujitsu, Kokushi Ryu Jujutsu, or many others. It may be unarmed, lightly armed, or include a full weapon syllabus. It may be almost nothing but grappling, or almost nothing but striking, or anything inbetween. It may have sporting aspects, it may have none at all. It may allow for personal expression, or require that techniques are performed exactly the same way each and every time. And these are just some of the initial differences, once you get into the depth of various forms, the differences can be much more subtle, but very profound.

What are their goals, and what is the focus of both? TKD focus's on improving character, and on striking. What is their focus?

See above. The goals again may be anything from winning a tournament to preserving old traditions, to purely combative expertise. And the focus can be largely dependant upon the person training. For example, you say that TKD focus' on "improving character", but that is not an aspect of the physical art itself. It is a value you place on the training. You can train TKD without improving your character, indeed without even wanting to or thinking about such matters, or you can improve your character in many other ways without going through TKD at all. That said, if you have no interest in preserving the traditions of, say, Japan, then avoid the koryu systems. That focus is largley what they are about, and that is not a personally dependant concept.

Is judo just a sport?

Particularly since it's inclusion into the Olympics, judo has had it's focus on the sporting aspect, however a number of other training concepts are included, including older kata training methods for self defence, such as the Kime no Kata, and the later version, Goshin no Kata.
 
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Kyosanim

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Hi Kyosanim,

Thank you I found this very helpful. The way I see things I really only have half a black belt without knowing how to grapple well, and the information you have provided will be a great help.
 

Shifu Steve

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The way I see things I really only have half a black belt without knowing how to grapple well, and the information you have provided will be a great help.

While I think that if you have an interest in grappling you should pursue that interest I would say you don't need to become proficient in a new system to consider yourself a "full" blackbelt.

There are a variety of posts on this site about what it means to be a blackbelt but I think you're more concerned with the fact that you lack grappling skills. I would say there are a couple ways you could approach this. The first would be to gain a good understanding of the vulnerabilities of your chosen style and extrapolate your knowledge of it to address those issues. For instance we are most vulnerable to something defensive when we are engaged in something offensive. For someone to grapple you they need to make contact so range and distance is a consideration. There are also options for you if someone does make contact that don't necessitate you learning to be a "grappler."

Another choice is to learn some basic technique in a grappling situation that enables you to get out of the situation and gives you something to work with if you find yourself there. So the idea here is have a few things that work for you when somebody makes contact that help you to transition back to where your strengths are.

Then you could always learn a system that teaches you to grapple. I'm all for being well rounded and of course learning a system of Ju-Jitsu or Judo is a rewarding experience in itself. It also will teach you concepts that you may not be totally familiar with. Personally, I studied a style of Ju-Jitsu that is closer in method to Wally Jay's Small Circle Ju-Jitsu. I thoroughly enjoyed it and apply the principles learned in my training daily. But like Chris said, your options are limited to what's within range of you and where you will receive the best training. Even if you have "Ju-Jitsu America" next door to you it doesn't mean you should train there.

Good luck.
 

Draven

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There is a slight difference between judo & Jujutsu, in that Budo & Bujutsu are different in goals. Kano wanted Judo to be a means of teaching a philosophical frame of thought (Zen like Taoist Philosophy) the term -Do is a obscure meaning of "Way" better translated as "Way to enlightenment" that said there are different variants (off shoots of judo) that are more focused on sport, police arrest methods (submission focused) and another off shoot that see it more as a combat art then philosophy tool.

That said judo even when used as a philosophy tool is less philosophical then the concept applies & the techniques of judo & jujutsu are the same thing. Judo deals allot with unbalancing and using an opponent's energy against them. The easist way to explain it is this if someone grabs your wrisy and pulls you toward them, instead of pulling away you push them back; so that their energy is added to your own and they fall back onto the ground. By contrast if that person pushs you, you need only pull them to take them with you as you fall or pull them and step out the way so that they fall down. Which is the same basic technical format as most all forms of jujutsu...
 

Chris Parker

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Sorry, Draven, there seems to be a bit of confusion in your post here.

There is a slight difference between judo & Jujutsu, in that Budo & Bujutsu are different in goals.

Again, the distinction between budo and bujutsu is one that Westerners seem determined to see, to most Japanese they are the same term. So the goals are not different between budo and bujutsu, but they are different from one system to another.

Kano wanted Judo to be a means of teaching a philosophical frame of thought (Zen like Taoist Philosophy) the term -Do is a obscure meaning of "Way" better translated as "Way to enlightenment" that said there are different variants (off shoots of judo) that are more focused on sport, police arrest methods (submission focused) and another off shoot that see it more as a combat art then philosophy tool.

Really? Zen and Taoism? I've heard of Zen practitioners refering to how Judo helped them understand Zen better, but not that Zen nor Taoism is part of the philosophy of Judo. I have no doubt that Kano was spiritual, but that's a different thing entirely.

And as for "Do" being an obscure term? It's a rather common term, actually, alternately read as "michi", and means "way, path, or street", not "way to enlightenment". That implication may be read into it in certain contexts, but it is not there in the term itself. For example, rough and ready jujutsu schools with little technical ability were refered to as michi dojo, or "street schools".

And when it comes to Judo, there is Kodokan Judo, and that is it. There are no offshoots. Certain people may specialise, or focus their training in one way or another, but there is no actual "off-shoot" of Judo. The police arresting techniques are sometimes refered to as Taiho Jutsu. And as for "(some) are more focused on sport", well, that has been a major focus of Judo for a long time. One of the main reasons for Judo's development and popularity was it's altering of certain techniques, and inclusion of rules, to make competition safer. So it's been there since the beginning.

That said judo even when used as a philosophy tool is less philosophical then the concept applies & the techniques of judo & jujutsu are the same thing.

Again, Judo is Jujutsu. It is simply Kano Sensei's approach, and has been incredibly influential to the martial art world (this is where we get coloured belt ranking systems from). So of course the techniques are the same, or more accurately, they are the same as many found in Tenshin Shinyo Ryu and Kito Ryu, but not necessarily the same as ones found elsewhere (although more than likely at least remakably similar).

I must say that I don't really know what you are trying to say in the first part here "judo even when used as a philosophy tool (sic) is less philosophical then the concept applies (sic)", as it doesn't read particularly well. If you are saying that... actually, I really don't see anything you could be saying.

Judo deals allot with unbalancing and using an opponent's energy against them. The easist way to explain it is this if someone grabs your wrisy and pulls you toward them, instead of pulling away you push them back; so that their energy is added to your own and they fall back onto the ground. By contrast if that person pushs you, you need only pull them to take them with you as you fall or pull them and step out the way so that they fall down. Which is the same basic technical format as most all forms of jujutsu...

Well, that's rather simplistic there, and a little off to a degree.
 

Draven

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Well Chris the term -Do is Japanese for Tao. Zen (Chen in Chinese) Buddhist philosophy and Taoist (Doist) philosophy is very similar as well as Zen/Chen Buddhism was influenced by Taoist thought. There are many splinter forms of judo, Olympic/Sport Judo for example often focuses on competition rules and ignores methods like atemi-waza (striking) or Kodoro (mental/philosophical training).

I suggest you read...
Jujutsu become Judo by Jugaro Kano
og specific note...
The word jujutsu and judo are each written with two Chinese characters. The ju in both is the same and means "gentleness" or "giving way." The meaning of jutsu is "art, practice," and do means "principle" or "way," the Way being the concept of life itself. Jujutsu may be translated as "the gentle art," judo as "the Way of gentleness," with the implication of first giving way to ultimately gain victory. The Kodokan is, literally, "the school for studying the Way." As we shall see in the next chapter, judo is more than an art of attack and defense. It is a way of life.
Judo:
judokanji.gif


Tao:
tao-character.gif
 

Chris Parker

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Well, to get technical, "Do" is the on'yomi pronunciation of the Chinese "Tao". The Japanese language has usually at least two pronunciations of each character, in this case "michi" and "do". "Michi" here would be classed as kun'yomi, which literally means "meaning reading", and "do" would be on'yomi, or "sounding reading". This refers to the pronunciation that the Japanese thought the Chinese had for the character, whereas kun'yomi is the pronunciation for the natural Japanese concept that the character refers to. So the meaning of "Do" and "Tao" are the same, in context as in taoism it has religious overtones, but that is not necessarily always there. In the context of simply "path, or street", it doesn't. Good try though!

As to different "styles" of Judo, I thought that was dealt with rather well the last time you said such a thing.... For a reminder, check the thread "Diffrence between Brazilian JiuJitsu, Japanese JiuJitsu and Judo", from December last year...

I like the excerpt you linked to, read the book a long time ago. Of course, you missed this part just above your quoted section:

"After a thorough study of the subject, I discerned an a1l-pervasive principle: to make the most efficient use of mental and physical energy. With this principle in mind, I again reviewed all the methods of attack and defense I had learned, retaining only those that were in accordance with the principle. Those not in accord with it I rejected, and in their place I substituted techniques in which the principle was correctly applied. The resulting body of technique, which I named judo to distinguish it from its predecessor, is what is taught at the Kodokan."

That, by the way, would be an example of the base philosophy I was refering to. And you may note that Jigoro Kano (rather than "Jugaro".... I'll assume a misprint, shall I? I mean, it was right there in the page you linked to... and while we're at it, the term used for the spiritual training is kokoro, literally meaning heart. It's the bottom half of the character for "nin", you may have seen it...) references nothing to do with Taoism, Zen, or anything other than his martial philosophy of "making the most efficient use of mental and physical energy". That, you will find, is the philosophy of Judo. Philosophy is not necessarily a spiritual ideal, it is simply a cogent system of beliefs which give grounding.

You may also notice the very end there, where he clearly states "The resulting body of techniques...I names judo to distinguish it from it's predecessor". Again, you seem to have made my point for me. Thank you for that.

PS I like the kanji, by the way, especially the first one. Very nice.
 

Draven

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Except that the Tao/-Do symbol is the exact same symbol and refers to "specific philosophical docturine" i.e. the difference between being translated as THE WAY as opposed to "a way" as opposed to houkou (direction) or jutsu (art). You pretty much proved what I said about Judo by "less philosophical then the concept applies." Philosophy is a lot of sitting around and talking, judo is more of a means exercising principles rather then discussing them.

I'm by no means saying that judo doesn't have techniques or that those techniques don't have purpose. I'm not saying that judo & jujutsu aren't the same a physical level however Kano did accept a certain level of teaching a guiding philosophical principle as part of judo.

Look at it this way, Chen Buddhism was influenced by Taoism, except Buddhist have different ideas and even Taoists have different "denominations" of Taoism. In all forms of Taoism the term Tao refers to "The Way" more so then "a way." The difference is "The Way" is considered to be of a higher, spiritual, meaning as opposed to simply a variance in technique or docturine. Now if Taoism is "The Way" considered in a form of "absolutes" we run into a allot of fighting over whats the right absolute and which isn't. However, all Taoists branchs have a far more civil way of dealing with it and declare that "The Way" is a person matter between the self and higher ideology. Thats why it was adapted so readily by Chen (Zen) Buddhist. Judo isn't an ideological absolute like a religion but simply an ideological docturine.

Tell what read this article by Kano, you'll not there is a specifc reference to an ideological doctuine and thats by no means a specific area of study. However Kito-Ryu Jujutsu does hold its roots in Taoist
The Contribution of Judo to Education

The training in these, together with the pleasure obtainable from watching movements symbolical of different ideas, constitutes what we call the emotional or the aesthetic phase of Judo. I believe you have already come to see what kind of thing Judo really is, in contra-distinction to the Jiu-jitsu of feudal times.
If I now state in a concise form what I have said, it might be summed up as follows:
Judo is a study and training in mind and body as well as in the regulation of one's life and affairs. From the thorough study of the different methods of attack and defense I became convinced that they all depend on the application of one all-pervading principle, namely: "Whatever be the object, it can best be attained by the highest or maximum efficient use of mind and body for that purpose". Just as this principle applied to the methods of attack and defense constitutes Jiu-jitsu, so does this same principle, applied to physical, mental and moral culture, as well as to ways of living and carrying on of business, constitute the study of, and the training in, those things.​
 

pmosiun1

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What are your thoughts? What are the real differences with judo and jujutsu?
What are their goals, and what is the focus of both? TKD focus's on improving character, and on striking. What is their focus?

Is judo just a sport?

Yes, judo is a sport. The goal of judo is to throw your opponent off balance. There are some grappling too.
 

Chris Parker

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Really? We're keeping this going? Okay...

Except that the Tao/-Do symbol is the exact same symbol and refers to "specific philosophical docturine" i.e. the difference between being translated as THE WAY as opposed to "a way" as opposed to houkou (direction) or jutsu (art).

Yes, it is the same character, but that is only it's meaning in a strict context. It also can simply mean "street", "path", "guide", or more. In fact, some dictionaries give up to 39 different translations. It can be a "specific philosophical doctrine", but it is not necessarily.

My big question here, though, is why you constantly reference the Chinese concepts of Taoism here. The character is borrowed/taken from the Chinese, but it was taken as it was to be applied to the Japanese concept of "michi". That does not necessarily mean that the Japanese used the concept as is Taoism, as that is a Chinese belief system. The Japanese are far more likely to refer to Bhuddism or Shinto (or both). We are dealing with a Japanese art, so I think we should keep to Japanese interpretations, don't you?

You pretty much proved what I said about Judo by "less philosophical then the concept applies." Philosophy is a lot of sitting around and talking, judo is more of a means exercising principles rather then discussing them.

Well, that tells me that you don't understand what is meant by philosophy here. Philosophy is an underlying belief structure, and in martial arts that philosophy is expressed in the form of physical techniques. Studying philosophy involves sitting around talking, thinking, and so on, but philosophy itself is not that. It is simply the belief system that give structure to the approach the school or system uses, in the case of Judo, as said last time, "to make the most efficient use of physical and mental energy". That is the philosophy, it is expressed through the physical techniques, no sitting around talking required. You can, if you want, and I feel that Kano would have encouraged such exploration, however it is not required (right at the beginning of your linked article he states this exact thing).

I'm by no means saying that judo doesn't have techniques or that those techniques don't have purpose. I'm not saying that judo & jujutsu aren't the same a physical level however Kano did accept a certain level of teaching a guiding philosophical principle as part of judo.

All authentic martial arts have a guiding philosophical principle (or a number of them) at their core. It is what gives each of them their flavour, their specialisation, their technical approach, and more. Again, I don't think you are understanding what the concept of philosophy is, at least in this context.

Look at it this way, Chen Buddhism was influenced by Taoism, except Buddhist have different ideas and even Taoists have different "denominations" of Taoism. In all forms of Taoism the term Tao refers to "The Way" more so then "a way." The difference is "The Way" is considered to be of a higher, spiritual, meaning as opposed to simply a variance in technique or docturine. Now if Taoism is "The Way" considered in a form of "absolutes" we run into a allot of fighting over whats the right absolute and which isn't. However, all Taoists branchs have a far more civil way of dealing with it and declare that "The Way" is a person matter between the self and higher ideology. Thats why it was adapted so readily by Chen (Zen) Buddhist. Judo isn't an ideological absolute like a religion but simply an ideological docturine.

Uh, what? To begin with, I'm not sure you're understanding of these religious ideas is really on track there. But more to the point, what does any of this have to do with the discussion? Which, honestly, we have taken far too far off track itself already.

Tell what read this article by Kano, you'll not there is a specifc reference to an ideological doctuine and thats by no means a specific area of study. However Kito-Ryu Jujutsu does hold its roots in Taoist

Again, not a bad article, even if it was translated by someone who can't spell jujutsu (really, if you claim to be able to translate this type of material, at least get that right), however, what I see there is Kano saying that there are a number of ways to approach his art, ranging from physically for defence, through to intellectual or more spiritual, but nothing that says he is doing this as a Taoist expression. Yes, it had an influence on Kito Ryu, but it seems to have been rather discounted in lieu of Kano's prefered philosophy by the time he began Kano-ha Kodokan Jujutsu, later Kodokan Judo.
[/indent]

But with that said, we have gone too far off topic, and it's time to stop. If you want to argue some more, maybe starting a new thread would be a good idea.

Oh, and pmosiun1, out of interest, what do you call throws, locks, and chokes if not grappling? The idea of grappling only being on the ground is a new idea from the advent of MMA, but it's origins are from the techniques standing up. It's all grappling, with some striking in the self defence kata and higher levels.
 

Steve

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Judo is great and has a lot of practical things to recommend it. First, you are very likely able to find a good instructor near you. Judo is almost as widespread as TKD, and good schools are rampant.

At the same time, many of these schools are run as clubs, and many of these clubs are run as non-profits. What this means is that you can often find quality judo instruction for a very reasonable price. This makes Judo instruction a very good value in many places.

Judo also encourages live randori and there is an established competitive element for those who wish to partake. Some people love this. Whether the school focuses more on sport or not will vary depending upon the school. Nothing for that but do the legwork yourself. Check out your local schools to see if one fits.

Don't discount other grappling arts, either. BJJ is big and growing. You'll see some overlap with Judo. Consider BJJ and Judo as cousins in grappling, sharing the same roots. Sambo is good if you can find it, as are CaCC and Folk Wrestling. Sambo is a hybrid art also derived from Judo and developed in Russia while Catch Wrestling and Folk Wrestling come from more Western roots.

Best thing I would recommend is to look around your area, don't count anything out, take advantage of free introductory lessons and find the school that best suits your personality and goals.
 

Xinglu

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Well Chris the term -Do is Japanese for Tao. Zen (Chen in Chinese) Buddhist philosophy and Taoist (Doist) philosophy is very similar as well as Zen/Chen Buddhism was influenced by Taoist thought.

If you're going to get caught up in semantics and argue the chinese terms, at the very least get the terms right.

佛教 f籀jio is Buddhism
禅宗 ch獺nzōng is Zen Buddhism, or 禅 ch獺n for short, but only in context as it also means meditation (which may or may not be buddhist in nature let alone Ch獺n sect).
道教 dojio is Taoism/Daoism.

Furthermore, you are confused. F籀jio (buddhism) and dojio have very few similarities.

Ch獺nzōng does because it is the result of the influence dojio had on f籀jio. But that is it. As it is Ch獺nzōng barely resembles either spiritualities anymore.

Other things do (道) means and is commonly used for:

direction / way / road / path / principle / truth / morality / reason / skill / method / to say / to speak / to talk / classifier for long thin stretches, rivers, roads etc.

Knowing this, can't you see how silly a dogmatic argument on chinese meanings of characters is? It's all about context of the characters.
 

Xinglu

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To the OP, Steve Just above me here has given you some sound advice, I would take it. Somethings to consider is how to transition your TKD into grappling. My personal opinion is that TKD is very strong in long range and medium range combat, but weak inside and grappling. Judo might offer you a little more in regards to addressing both of those (BJJ is great for grappling unless you find an instructor willing to teach inside fighting [while standing Which in my experience is getting harder to find]. Judo might suit your needs better. I personally chose BJJ because my inside game is addressed, what I wanted was ground game if the worst should happen. But even then, I'm not looking to be a ground fighter. I was looking to protect myself from ground fighters, by learning not how to defeat them on the ground, but how to either not go down, or how to escape if I am taken down. In such a situation I want to play to my strengths not theirs.

Something I would like to point out though. Your hyungs have a lot of joint locks and throws in them, they are just not readily apparent. If you're not being taught them then something like Judo or JJ might help you see/learn them. Either way, don't sell yourself short as a BB now your real learning begins. I challenge you to take each movement in each hyung and establish five different applications: e.g. joint manipulation/throw/neutralization/etc. Pretty soon you will be amazed at how much material you already have!
 

Balrog

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A suggestion -

As a First Degree, you are still a beginner in your chosen martial art of Taekwondo. I would suggest that you continue to put your emphasis there, much like a major in college. Cross-train with BJJ or judo, but let that be like an elective course which supports the major and makes you a more well-rounded student.
 

ap Oweyn

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Shelf the terminology and history for a while. Check out the available teachers. Remember that the teacher and your classmates are going to do a lot more to shape your training experience than is the kanji, Pinyin translation, or any of that other stuff. That's all interesting stuff to learn about at some point. But your direct interaction with the style is going to be through the filter of teacher and classmates. Find a school that offers a training methodology you like. That's paramount.
 

shane

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Alternative is to discover some rudimentary method in a grappling position that endows you to get out of the position and presents you certain thing to work with if you find yourself there. So the concept here is have a couple of things that work for you when a famous person makes communicate that help you to transition back to where your power are.
 

Guardian

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You know partner, I learned a long time ago, you can take all the recommendations in the world but the bottom line is, what is the right style/system for you is the one you choose or want. I can't say or choose or recommend it for you. You must find it out for yourself.
 

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