What arts would work for us?

Blue_Phoenix

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Hi all, my wife and I are looking to start martial arts training. I've had a short period of training several years ago with Shaolin kung fu (had to stop because of cost), so I know that would work for us, but I'd like to know what other martial arts might suit us.

What we want:
  1. Group physical fitness. We are middle-aged and very out-of-shape. We both enjoy group exercise. I have a history of chronic fatigue syndrome (not severe, thankfully), and my wife is very overweight -- neither of us is a high-energy being, so we want to get in shape in a way that will not push us beyond what we can sustainably tolerate.
  2. Some degree of self-defense competency that covers a variety of combat modes. Neither of us expects to be the neighborhood bad-*ss, but we'd like to be able to stand up for ourselves if needed. I'm a scrawny guy, so I'd prefer to end a fight before it goes to the ground, but I'd like to be able to fight on the ground if needed. The opportunity for weapons training at some point would also be nice, but not essential.
  3. Personal development. We want a practice that will help us get more grounded in our physical bodies (not our screens!), and help us develop a good balance of strength, speed, flexibility, balance, posture, and graceful movement. I enjoyed the spiritual aspect of kung fu, but that's not necessary.
What we don't really care about:
  1. Competitive events.
  2. Rapid rank advancement.
  3. Disciplines that only focus on one realm of combat, such as jiu-jitsu which is almost exclusively ground fighting.
The self-defense aspect is important, hence the interest in martial arts, but the most important point is having a practice that will help us develop the potential of our physical bodies.
 
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Blue_Phoenix

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Have you looked to see what is available in your area? Best to start from that list. If anyone suggests a system for which there are no competent instructors in your area, then it does you no good.

Give us a list, we may be able to comment from there.
We live in the greater Salt Lake City area. We probably have too many to list. Part of the problem is we don't really know what to look for! If we had a list with a variety of disciplines, we could look for those and decide which to pursue from those that are available.
 

Flying Crane

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We live in the greater Salt Lake City area. We probably have too many to list. Part of the problem is we don't really know what to look for! If we had a list with a variety of disciplines, we could look for those and decide which to pursue from those that are available.
Is there another way to narrow it down? Like driving distance? How far are you willing to travel to train?
 

lklawson

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Hi all, my wife and I are looking to start martial arts training. I've had a short period of training several years ago with Shaolin kung fu (had to stop because of cost), so I know that would work for us, but I'd like to know what other martial arts might suit us.

What we want:
  1. Group physical fitness. We are middle-aged and very out-of-shape. We both enjoy group exercise. I have a history of chronic fatigue syndrome (not severe, thankfully), and my wife is very overweight -- neither of us is a high-energy being, so we want to get in shape in a way that will not push us beyond what we can sustainably tolerate.
  2. Some degree of self-defense competency that covers a variety of combat modes. Neither of us expects to be the neighborhood bad-*ss, but we'd like to be able to stand up for ourselves if needed. I'm a scrawny guy, so I'd prefer to end a fight before it goes to the ground, but I'd like to be able to fight on the ground if needed. The opportunity for weapons training at some point would also be nice, but not essential.
  3. Personal development. We want a practice that will help us get more grounded in our physical bodies (not our screens!), and help us develop a good balance of strength, speed, flexibility, balance, posture, and graceful movement. I enjoyed the spiritual aspect of kung fu, but that's not necessary.
What we don't really care about:
  1. Competitive events.
  2. Rapid rank advancement.
  3. Disciplines that only focus on one realm of combat, such as jiu-jitsu which is almost exclusively ground fighting.
The self-defense aspect is important, hence the interest in martial arts, but the most important point is having a practice that will help us develop the potential of our physical bodies.
Sure thing.
Here:

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Yokozuna514

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Hi all, my wife and I are looking to start martial arts training. I've had a short period of training several years ago with Shaolin kung fu (had to stop because of cost), so I know that would work for us, but I'd like to know what other martial arts might suit us.

What we want:
  1. Group physical fitness. We are middle-aged and very out-of-shape. We both enjoy group exercise. I have a history of chronic fatigue syndrome (not severe, thankfully), and my wife is very overweight -- neither of us is a high-energy being, so we want to get in shape in a way that will not push us beyond what we can sustainably tolerate.
  2. Some degree of self-defense competency that covers a variety of combat modes. Neither of us expects to be the neighborhood bad-*ss, but we'd like to be able to stand up for ourselves if needed. I'm a scrawny guy, so I'd prefer to end a fight before it goes to the ground, but I'd like to be able to fight on the ground if needed. The opportunity for weapons training at some point would also be nice, but not essential.
  3. Personal development. We want a practice that will help us get more grounded in our physical bodies (not our screens!), and help us develop a good balance of strength, speed, flexibility, balance, posture, and graceful movement. I enjoyed the spiritual aspect of kung fu, but that's not necessary.
What we don't really care about:
  1. Competitive events.
  2. Rapid rank advancement.
  3. Disciplines that only focus on one realm of combat, such as jiu-jitsu which is almost exclusively ground fighting.
The self-defense aspect is important, hence the interest in martial arts, but the most important point is having a practice that will help us develop the potential of our physical bodies.
First of all congratulations for taking this step and working toward a healthier you. Flying Crane has already given you some good feedback and I would add the following:

1) Look for schools that have arts that interest you and are close to you and have a schedule that fits your situation. That will give you the highest likelihood of building it into your lifestyle.

2) Watch a class or two (or better yet take a free trial) to see if the culture of the school appeals to you.

3) Look for schools that give classes that will eventually help you meet your goals.

If you live in an area where you have a lot of choice, consider yourself very fortunate. As Flying Crane said it is more about finding quality instruction than the specific art itself. Good luck.
 
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Blue_Phoenix

Blue_Phoenix

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Ok wow, the Kung Fu studio I was considering charges $120/month per student! Looks like cost is going to be a bigger factor than I expected it to be.

There are several rec centers in our area that offer martial arts classes at more reasonable prices. So far I've found Salt Lake County rec center classes for Karate, Aikido, and Hapkido, and a South Jordan rec center class that blends Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Judo and Jujitsu. I'm leaning toward the last.
 

Flying Crane

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Ok, I cannot recommend any schools in your area since I have zero experience with them. However, based on a perusal of some websites and what you have described above, I think these three are worth taking a look at. Also, I am not sure how far away from you they are.

You already feel that you are not interested in strictly jujitsu, nor in competition, so I suggest you avoid the jujitsu and MMA schools, since they typically place a heavy emphasis on competition. That does not automatically mean you could not find what you are looking for in an MMA school, I doubt they would twist your arm to make you compete, but competition is really what they want to do so you might be a bit of a third wheel in such a place.

A lot of the websites I looked at dont give me a good feeling. They appear to have a heavy focus on teaching young kids which, unfortunately, is a business decision often made to keep a stream of income so the school can remain open. Some of them might still have quality instruction for adults, but it seems to me that the main emphasis becomes the kids and you would feel out of place in such an environment. The worst of such places are little more than karate-themed babysitting facilities. Furthermore, most of these websites are professionally designed in such a cookie-cutter way that I personally hate them. They are filled with stock photos that were purchased for the website and in no way reflect that actual people or classroom or training hall of the school. I just find it all very disingenuous and a website like that makes me immediately cross them off my list. Its a shame really, because perhaps some of them offer good instruction, but I would be unlikely to look any closer.

At any rate, it sounds like what you are looking for is a more traditional environment, either a solid karate or kung fu school, or a Korean art like Tang Soo Do or Tae Kwon Do as long as it does not focus on Olympic style competition. These types of schools, if they are solid, teach martial arts as a way of understanding physicality and even a sort of physical education, through the practice of martial techniques and methods. The potential for strong camaraderie among the members is typically high, the training sessions can be grueling although that depends on the school and teacher, but at any rate they can be an excellent method for getting into good physical shape. In addition, the development of solid martial skills can also be very high, but the approach can be a bit more indirect compared to a school focused on heavy competition like an MMA school. But these schools typically approach training as something you will do for the rest of your life, and not focused on preparing for the next upcoming competition. It is simply different priorities in the purpose and approach to training.

So I would visit any schools that you feel inclined, to watch a couple classes and gauge how you feel about them. Do you feel comfortable with the teacher and in that environment? Can you afford the fees? Is it close enough that you will attend regularly? Does the class schedule fit your personal schedule? Those are issues to consider.
 

Flying Crane

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Ok wow, the Kung Fu studio I was considering charges $120/month per student! Looks like cost is going to be a bigger factor than I expected it to be.

There are several rec centers in our area that offer martial arts classes at more reasonable prices. So far I've found Salt Lake County rec center classes for Karate, Aikido, and Hapkido, and a South Jordan rec center class that blends Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Judo and Jujitsu. I'm leaning toward the last.
Can you paste some website links?
 

lklawson

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Ok wow, the Kung Fu studio I was considering charges $120/month per student! Looks like cost is going to be a bigger factor than I expected it to be.

There are several rec centers in our area that offer martial arts classes at more reasonable prices. So far I've found Salt Lake County rec center classes for Karate, Aikido, and Hapkido, and a South Jordan rec center class that blends Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Judo and Jujitsu. I'm leaning toward the last.
Look for Judo. Judo clubs are eminently serviceable for what you want and are often quite reasonably priced.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 
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Blue_Phoenix

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Can you paste some website links?
The studio in question is Shaolin Arts in Sandy, Utah: Shaolin Arts Sandy Utah

I previously studied at the Shaolin Arts studio in Taylorsville, Utah, and had a great experience there, but it was just too expensive to keep at it back then, too. Unfortunately, there was no fee schedule on the website. We went in person yesterday and spoke with the instructor. I felt like it would be a good fit for us, but the cost is just too high, especially once my student loan repayments resume in September.
 

Flying Crane

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The studio in question is Shaolin Arts in Sandy, Utah: Shaolin Arts Sandy Utah

I previously studied at the Shaolin Arts studio in Taylorsville, Utah, and had a great experience there, but it was just too expensive to keep at it back then, too. Unfortunately, there was no fee schedule on the website. We went in person yesterday and spoke with the instructor. I felt like it would be a good fit for us, but the cost is just too high, especially once my student loan repayments resume in September.
Ok I had seen that website but what made me hesitate is that it wasnt clear to me what systems they teach, who the instructor is, and what lineage? There is a lot of info on the website but it is presented in a vague sort of way that is lacking in specifics, and those specifics can make a big difference. It is quite strange to me that the instructor is not named, unless I really missed it somewhere.
 

drop bear

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The thing about competition is that it is also a means to an end in self defense.

So if you want to use your chosen martial art to combat a stranger who is actively trying to stop you. You should use your martial art at some point to some degree.

And competition fills that gap.

And look. You don't have to like it. Or even be exceptionally good at it. But if self defence is your goal. You probably need to invest in that experience.

Most combat sports schools have levels of practitioners ranging from casual students to professional fighters. And this gives you a much greater wealth of combative experience than you would get otherwise.

A school is already made up of street fighters or bouncers, cops, soldiers whatever. People who have real time self defence experience. All schools get these.

But all schools don't have a verifiable testing ground to determine if the techniques they employ work at a 100% resisted level. And this is an important distinction if you actually want to make your training work for you.
 

Flying Crane

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Ok wow, the Kung Fu studio I was considering charges $120/month per student! Looks like cost is going to be a bigger factor than I expected it to be.

There are several rec centers in our area that offer martial arts classes at more reasonable prices. So far I've found Salt Lake County rec center classes for Karate, Aikido, and Hapkido, and a South Jordan rec center class that blends Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Judo and Jujitsu. I'm leaning toward the last.
Do you have links to the rec center classes?
 
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Blue_Phoenix

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The thing about competition is that it is also a means to an end in self defense.

So if you want to use your chosen martial art to combat a stranger who is actively trying to stop you. You should use your martial art at some point to some degree.

And competition fills that gap.

And look. You don't have to like it. Or even be exceptionally good at it. But if self defence is your goal. You probably need to invest in that experience.

Most combat sports schools have levels of practitioners ranging from casual students to professional fighters. And this gives you a much greater wealth of combative experience than you would get otherwise.

A school is already made up of street fighters or bouncers, cops, soldiers whatever. People who have real time self defence experience. All schools get these.

But all schools don't have a verifiable testing ground to determine if the techniques they employ work at a 100% resisted level. And this is an important distinction if you actually want to make your training work for you.
Shouldn't I expect to have opportunities to spar at whatever studio I choose, not only with old, out-of-shape guys like me but also with those cops and soldiers?

As mentioned previously, I have a history of chronic fatigue syndrome, so I have to be careful what kind of stress I bring upon my body. A fight at a full-contact MMA or hard art event could leave me home-bound for days or even weeks. I understand that there is value in being tested, but I have to balance that against the likely consequences and the need to function in other areas of my life. I haven't been in a fight since elementary school, and the likelihood of getting into one in my late 40s or thereafter is extremely low. Yes, I want self-defense skills, but I'm willing to take the chance that they won't be sufficient in a low-probability real-world encounter if that means I'm able to keep working and performing other 100% probability daily living activities for myself.
 

Flying Crane

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Shouldn't I expect to have opportunities to spar at whatever studio I choose, not only with old, out-of-shape guys like me but also with those cops and soldiers?

As mentioned previously, I have a history of chronic fatigue syndrome, so I have to be careful what kind of stress I bring upon my body. A fight at a full-contact MMA or hard art event could leave me home-bound for days or even weeks. I understand that there is value in being tested, but I have to balance that against the likely consequences and the need to function in other areas of my life. I haven't been in a fight since elementary school, and the likelihood of getting into one in my late 40s or thereafter is extremely low. Yes, I want self-defense skills, but I'm willing to take the chance that they won't be sufficient in a low-probability real-world encounter if that means I'm able to keep working and performing other 100% probability daily living activities for myself.
You are correct.
 

Flying Crane

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Blue_Phoenix

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Again, not a lot of information on these, but certainly worth looking into. Get in touch, see if you can watch a couple classes and gauge the program and your comfort with it.
This is the one we are leaning toward right now. I've sent an email to the address listed. Hopefully we'll hear something soon. I guess we could just show up early on Tuesday and ask to watch.
 

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