What to do. Conundrum

OldManJim

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So I want to start MA again after a 12 year lay off. I just turned 50 and need to do some stuff to get my diabetes and health under control. I have some mild arthritis and I am not particulary overweight, however I live a pretty sedentary lifestyle, which is my own fault. 12+ years ago I received an advanced belt in Chuck Norris Style, not a black belt but a few belts below. I have forgotten all of it because I eventually stopped training. I am wanting to get back into MA but I dont know what I want to do. There are LOTS of options near me. Tkd, a ton of BJJ, some MMA, JDK, and a school that teaches Hapkido. Right now Im looking at two different places to try out. One is a Shuri Ryu school that is closely affiliated with Jerry Piddington and another is a Jackson Wink affiliate. My conundrum is Im not sure what I really want to do and would like some suggestions from folks who have trained. I enjoyed the structure and traditional aspect of the CNS school I went to. I really like that aspect of the MA. Sadly there are no CNS schools near me and Id probably have to start over if i attended again to refresh myself. On the other hand I think about the Shuri school and realize have to go through all the kata and all the other things again. Im a realist and know that im not going to be getting into fights, but to learn an effective art is paramount as well. I like the belt aspect of being graded as well, even though im sure you will disagree. I guess the average traditional MA has advantage over the untrained. The JW school does award belts, which is something Greg Jackson invented. At this point I know I should try them to see what I like, I just dont want to make a huge commitment without knowing what im looking at in the long run. What do yall think? Any insights from long time practioners of any of the above?
 
My underlying advice is going to be to look at the schedules of the places that are available near you, choose a couple different ones (ideally of different styles, if you've got the options and don't know what you want), and see if they offer free trial classes. I'll post a more in-depth answer for your specific situation addressing your concern, but this is the big advice so it deserves its own comment.
 
There's a couple things to unpack in your post.

The first is that you're taking steps to improve your health, which is always good. But be careful not to get stuck in indecision - there's plenty of people out there who got 'paralysis of choice' and end up spending months to a year (to never) actually going and training everywhere. Every day you deliberate is another day that you didn't train.

Regarding CNS, every style and every dojo is different, but his style was based around tang soo do from my understanding, so if you're looking for something that mimics his style, looking for either a Tang Soo Do, a Tae Kwon Do, or another hybrid style with ranks (ie: kenpo) may be your best bet.

If you're going with that just because it's what you know though, be prepared you'll probably not get the exact same experiences you got there. And sometimes it's good to try something very new, rather than something 'close' to what you liked.

Regarding the concern about having to learn all new kata, and starting again at white belt to refresh yourself, that's a bad mindset to have. You haven't trained in 12 years, and while you were an advanced kyu, you weren't a black belt yet, so my guess is you trained something like 5-6 years? If so, you've spent more time not training then you had training. Regardless of what art you choose, even if it's the same one you had trained, empty your cup fully and come in with the perspective that you haven't trained before. You'll have to bring yourself up in the rankings again, but trying to shortcut, thinking it'll all come back and you'll be at the same place you were in 6 months, or being annoyed at having to learn new kata, will all just give you a bad mentality that'll make you more likely to quit.

Finally, regarding belts, I can see the appeal, particularly for someone who hasn't earned them yet. And they can be great for motivation. That said, they're probably the least important part IMO to an art. I could teach two different people the exact same thing, on the exact same timeline, one with belts and one without, and I'd expect there would be very little changes. Don't write off a school just because of the belts, it's still worth giving a shot and trying it out.

Finally, you seem worried that you'll be making a huge commitment once you start going, which is what causes the paralysis of choice I mentioned. Unless you have to sign a contract, you're not. You would not be the first, third or last person to go to a school for a couple months, then drop out for whatever reason and try somewhere else. Go to the schools that fit your schedule, see which one you like the most from the start, and sign up for a month there. If after the month you realize you don't see yourself there long term, let them know (or don't) and continue your search.

Quick edit: Actually, one last thing. If you spend too much time online researching, you'll see people complain about all types of arts: Aikido doesn't work, TKD is only for kids, everyone in MMA has rage issues, the bujinkan are wanna-be ninjas, etc. Don't pay attention to those. People are painting a very broad brush based on their own experiences, or experiences they heard from someone who heard from someone. Going off those examples, the two I have experience with Aikido - I've seen people implement it into sparring with success against a lot of different styles, and MMA - some of the nicest nerds I've met.

So again, regardless of what you read online, the only thing you'll know about the school in your area is to go there and see what they're actually about.
 
There's a couple of different types of knowledge when it comes to martial arts.

The techniques and principles come back very fast after a long break. You may need to get used to doing the techniques as a 50-year-old out-of-shape guy vs. a 38-year-old in-shape guy, but overall the muscle memory is still going to be there.

One of those principles that comes back fast is how to learn the rote memorized material (i.e. forms). If you were to take the you today, and the you from an alternate universe that had never done CNS, the you today will learn how to do advanced forms significantly faster than the alternate you would learn basic forms. This is because you already understand things like how stances work and how to perform the techniques. So while you're busy just memorizing a new set of forms or re-memorizing the steps of the old ones, the alternate version of you is going to be stuck trying to figure out why the instructors keep saying "you need a wider stance".

The last piece is the rote memorization itself. To be honest, this doesn't really matter. These things are a tool to help you train, and a requirement for tests. I've done martial arts with rote memorization (Taekwondo and Hapkido). I've done arts without (wrestling, BJJ, Muay Thai). I've seen students in a mcdojo that know all the forms and absolutely suck at them, and I've seen students come into those schools with excellent skills but who don't know the forms. If it's an either/or, I always favor the students with the skills over the students with the memorization.
 
So I want to start MA again after a 12 year lay off. I just turned 50 and need to do some stuff to get my diabetes and health under control. I have some mild arthritis and I am not particulary overweight, however I live a pretty sedentary lifestyle, which is my own fault. 12+ years ago I received an advanced belt in Chuck Norris Style, not a black belt but a few belts below. I have forgotten all of it because I eventually stopped training. I am wanting to get back into MA but I dont know what I want to do. There are LOTS of options near me. Tkd, a ton of BJJ, some MMA, JDK, and a school that teaches Hapkido. Right now Im looking at two different places to try out. One is a Shuri Ryu school that is closely affiliated with Jerry Piddington and another is a Jackson Wink affiliate. My conundrum is Im not sure what I really want to do and would like some suggestions from folks who have trained. I enjoyed the structure and traditional aspect of the CNS school I went to. I really like that aspect of the MA. Sadly there are no CNS schools near me and Id probably have to start over if i attended again to refresh myself. On the other hand I think about the Shuri school and realize have to go through all the kata and all the other things again. Im a realist and know that im not going to be getting into fights, but to learn an effective art is paramount as well. I like the belt aspect of being graded as well, even though im sure you will disagree. I guess the average traditional MA has advantage over the untrained. The JW school does award belts, which is something Greg Jackson invented. At this point I know I should try them to see what I like, I just dont want to make a huge commitment without knowing what im looking at in the long run. What do yall think? Any insights from long time practioners of any of the above?
To get close to the forms that you remember, you will need to find an American Tang Soo Do school. You could also look at the TKD schools and see if they teach the traditional hyungs. As everyone mentioned, just check out the schools and see which one appeals to you. It is always better to train than thinking about training.
 
CNS kata as of a couple years ago you'll be looking at Pinans/pyungs, Bassai, Kusanku, one I can't remember the name but very similar to taikyoku and a style specific sport kata. Curriculum was updated frequently so may have been different when the OP was training.
 
CNS kata as of a couple years ago you'll be looking at Pinans/pyungs, Bassai, Kusanku, one I can't remember the name but very similar to taikyoku and a style specific sport kata. Curriculum was updated frequently so may have been different when the OP was training.
It will be different by school. He may find some familiarity with a dojang associated with the WTSDA.
 
I have looked for TSD but unfortunately all we have near me are a plethora of TKD and the Hapkido school
 
I have looked for TSD but unfortunately all we have near me are a plethora of TKD and the Hapkido school
Have you checked out the Hapkido school? I have a friend that teaches and his system is similar. Also, ask what hyungs the TKD schools teach. They may teach the ones that you are familiar with
.
 
Have you checked out the Hapkido school? I have a friend that teaches and his system is similar. Also, ask what hyungs the TKD schools teach. They may teach the ones that you are familiar with
.
I have not been to the school but I have spoken with the owner a couple of times online. The school primarily teaches Pasaryu, which from my understanding is what Elvis practiced. He concurrently teaches Hapkido so you rank in both styles. Its a bit pricey is one of the main reasons I really havent checked deeper into it.
 
I have not been to the school but I have spoken with the owner a couple of times online. The school primarily teaches Pasaryu, which from my understanding is what Elvis practiced. He concurrently teaches Hapkido so you rank in both styles. Its a bit pricey is one of the main reasons I really havent checked deeper into it.
I suggest checking out the TKD schools then and see if they teach the hyungs that you are familiar with. You may get lucky.
 
There is a CNS school near me but its 5 hours away so that wont work. The location does offer online training where you practice prerecorded videos and submit when youre ready to be graded so to speak. Im not so sure how well I would do with that
 
There is a CNS school near me but its 5 hours away so that wont work. The location does offer online training where you practice prerecorded videos and submit when youre ready to be graded so to speak. Im not so sure how well I would do with that
I would strongly NOT recommend that route. You miss out on way too much instruction. You will just be basically mimicking what you see. Sit in with the local schools and pick one.
 
For the diabetes, build up your big muscles, like the legs and butt, by doing stuff like squats.

Why?
  • it brought my sugar down
  • muscles process (uptake) glucose, taking some of the load off your pancreas
  • it was recommended by our nephew, the vascular surgeon, whose stock-in-trade these days is amputating toes of patients with diabetes.
 
Based on your last physical, are you able to exercise?
Most legit instructors will keep an eye on you and monitor your progress.
Practice smartly, warm up well before kinetic stretching. Forget about the double wheel kicks. Have fun and feel good about your progress!
 
To get close to the forms that you remember, you will need to find an American Tang Soo Do school. You could also look at the TKD schools and see if they teach the traditional hyungs. As everyone mentioned, just check out the schools and see which one appeals to you. It is always better to train than thinking about training.
Not 100% certain, but I believe Norris made his own form set. But I would imagine it is rooted in TSD to a large degree.
 
Not 100% certain, but I believe Norris made his own form set. But I would imagine it is rooted in TSD to a large degree.
He added forms in addition to the traditional forms. WTSDA has done the same, along with the ITSDA. Worst case scenario would be that he would have to learn a couple more basic forms.
 

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