Why you started taking martial arts

Why did you start taking martial arts

  • You were scared of being beat up

  • You beat up and scared it would happen again

  • You were beat up and wanted revenge

  • Saw it in the movies and thought it would be fun

  • Fitness

  • Other (please post why)

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I once read that people start taking lessons in the martial arts for one of two readons. They have been beat up or are scared of being beat up. What's your story?
I was beat up a lot as a child. I was the only male gymnast in my school. We had one set of mats and the gymnasts got them or the wrestling team got them. The wrestling team sucked. They couldn't beat up the girls, so they went after me. My grandfather put me in lessons to protect myself. But I stayed in the lessons because of the competition. It was just a natural extension of the discipline of from and motion I had studied since I was 6. I wasn't scared of the guys beating me up, they did little damage, even though I was much smaller than them I was wiry with no fat what-so-ever. My family didn't like these guys beating me up. So that is how I got into the martial arts.
Admittedly, I got into it to lose weight. But I could just go to a
gym to do that, which is dull, and boring. The martial art aspect
of it keeps me going, and thinking about going, anxious about
the next training day, and on FORUMS talking about it, when
I can't train. LOL! I just love it so much! I wish I'd have done it
much sooner. So the reason for starting, fitness ... which I still
need LOADS of ... the reason I'm staying ... LOADS of reasons.
Originally posted by Rob_Broad
I was beat up a lot as a child.

I was bullied and also was interested in the arts. When my physician insisted that I needed more exercise (9th grade), I sold my mini-bike to pay for American Self-Defense lessons. Luckily I got into Isshin-ryu 6 months later which I really enjoyed. It was 2 years before I had the self-confidence to use it to defend myself, and then I realized that the confidence was enough--the martial arts weren't the main thing that protected me. It was the being willing to stand up for myself that really did it.
I was sixteen and had an older sister in college. She was dating a guy that went on to be a pro football player...he was (is) big! One weekend my sister came home and was very upset. It turned out this guy had gotten mad at her one day and started throwing her around like a ragdoll.

I love my sister very much and I vowed to show him how it felt to have the fear he gave to my sister. I knew that there was no way I could ever do this considering his size and strength unless I was proficient in the martial arts. Even if it took years I was determined to teach him not to hurt ladies.

In any case, by the time I was proficient enough to do any damage, I had also learned about forgiveness and restraint. I never saw that guy again and I didn't go looking for him.

I started out with bad intentions but stuck it out and have loved being involved in martial art for the last 17 years. Now I cannot imagine not being in the arts.
Seven months ago my exercise consisted of watching my daughter work out in karate. Then my baby brother (deadhand) started his style and I was utterly amazed at how my formerly clumsy little brother had turned into this amazing fast kicker, plus I saw the change in him, how he was so much more self-confident and poised-

Then one day, in the midst of a bad real estate deal, a failed job, marriage troubles, and budding alcoholism, I saw a young brown belt at my dojo do a kata called ten point blocking- the grace and power, I'll never forget it. And how happy and at peace he looked while doing the kata, I'll never forget that either.

So I signed up the next week, and haven't taken a drink since. And I seem to be able to tolerate all those niggling little life's realities so much better...I lost 22 pounds too, that's way cool.
and even better, since I've signed up, my baby sister has signed up too! Now once I get my dog signed up, it'll be a real family affair....
All the best to you always, Cathy
I've always had some interest in martial arts, but never really tried learning any until recently. A few years back I was looking for some way to help relieve stress. Being a grad student isn't an easy job. I had looked at yoga, but didn't care much for it; too many stationary positions. Then I remembered hearing about how many people practice tai chi for health reasons and figured that might suit me better. I got some books, videos, watched a PBS TV series on it, etc. and learned some basic tai chi. I won't claim to do it well because I haven't really officially been taught, but it helped serve the purpose I wanted it to. When I found out about the Chinese Martial Arts Club here on campus, I decided to join. They were teaching long fist, but the instructor said that later on he would probably teach other things including tai chi. I figured this would be a good opportunity to learn martial arts from a qualified instructor, so I joined up. The other thing was that when we get to doing tai chi, I believe he'll teach it in the more traditional martial arts style that it originally was than the sort of health-only thing it seems to have progressed to recently. So I guess if I had to narrow it down to one basic reason, it would be because I was looking for a form of stress relief.
Originally posted by John_Boy
In any case, by the time I was proficient enough to do any damage, I had also learned about forgiveness and restraint. I never saw that guy again and I didn't go looking for him.

I started out with bad intentions but stuck it out and have loved being involved in martial art for the last 17 years. Now I cannot imagine not being in the arts.

That's great! I enjoyed reading girlychuks' story also.
Okay, my reasons look to be a bit different. Grab a drink and sit back...get ready to fall asleep reading :)

My father was in the U.S.A.F. and met my mother while he was stationed in Okinawa. My mother is Okinawan, with a bit of Filipino blood, and was raised in Okinawa and Japan. After they got married, I was born and we lived in Okinawa for a few years, but I was a wee baby then, so martial arts meant diddly to me.

Lived in the states a few years more, and my dad got stationed in Japan. I was a bit older then, and started taking an interest to martial arts because I saw a bit of it in the Japanese cartoons I watched on the ol' idiot tube. Also, my best friends' father taught aikido out of his home, and my friends were enrolled in a kendo school off base. Unfortunately, I couldn't speak fluent Japanese, so I couldn't go to the kendo school, and my friends' father wouldn't teach minors.

My parents wouldn't let me sign up for the classes being taught on base, saying it was too expensive or some other vague reason. I really think that they thought I wouldn't stick with it, and at that age, they were probably right :). Anyhow, since I couldn't study directly, I went to the various branches of the base library and proceeded to read every book on martial arts that they had. By the time I was nine, I had read everything Stephen Hayes had published on ninjutsu at the time. I tempered my martial arts reading by also borrowing Bill Cosby LPs. Yes, I was an odd kid :D When I was about 10 or so, I started buying my own martial arts books whenever I could, which wasn't very often.

Eventually, we came back to the U.S. and I continued my reading and research. While the techniques looked impressive, I rarely tried them out. I was really fascinated by the origins of the systems, and the stories of their practitioners. A few years after moving back to the U.S., I finally started to train with a 'Shaolin-su Kempo' instructor. This eventually turned sour, as he tried to fool us with chi/ki tricks, would teach the same form with different moves every week, and would teach class reeking of alcohol. I left after about 8 or 9 months. I came back to visit my buddy, who was still training with the guy. After sparring with some of his students, and soundly whuppin' them, the instructor offered me some ridiculous rank promotion if I agreed to come back. I politely declined.

I kept at my reading and research and found out the base we were stationed at was supposed to offer a Kajukembo class. I had heard of the system through my reading and thought I would be interested. When I got there, I found out the Kajukembo teacher was long gone. Instead, I trained with the person who was teaching there, my Okinawa-te instructor. And the rest, as they say, is history :)

So, if you're still awake, the reason I got interested in the martial arts is simply because I was always interested in the martial arts. I had my share of bullying and whatnot as a child, but I already was interested in the arts before any of that occurred. It's kind of weird, in a way. In another way, it isn't. If you look at martial arts as martial art, then my reason for getting started is really no different then an artist's reason for taking up painting, or guitar, or sculpture. So maybe, for me it's simply a mode of expression.

not sure I made a point. Oh well :)
Martial arts looked fun I had always wanted to look into it. So now I train.

Despair Bear
I'm one of the old folks. I heard stories and had read obscure refrences to amasing things being done
by monks in Tabet and ledgends of Chiness monks. When the first issuse of Black Belt Mag. came out I was hooked.
Originally posted by tshadowchaser
When the first issuse of Black Belt Mag. came out I was hooked.

I recall trying to learn techniques from a book by Bong Soo Han after "Billy Jack" came out. I had always been interested in the martial arts from action-adventure books, movies, and so on. It took a combination of factors to get me to actually do it though--self-defense at school was a concern but the final impetus was missing school due to a pinched nerve that my pediatrician ascribed in part to insufficient exercise. That finally got me going.

Self-defense, interest, and exercise, possibly but not necessarily in that order.
Foe me is was simple frustration, you know that really skinny guy that everyone always picks on and when someone decides to go off somehow and find someone to fight, well i was usually him. I tested out of highschool early partly because of that, only once did i ever get any upperhand on a guy that had picked on me for over 2 years of HS, one day he came up as usual to start pushing and make himself feel big, something about that day made me snap, i had reported it to the school and my parents several times to no avail, nothing ever came of it, so i decided to at least show him some pain and gave him a "steel toe boot kick" to the groin, i kicked him hard enough to lift him off of the ground, he dropped to all fours threw up then lost conciousness from the pain. I was jumped him and his friend a week later as a result of this, although after that he did stop. Anyways back on subject, one day while coming home from work i stop at the 7-11 for a soda. i walk inside and go to the soda counter and when i step back after getting my soda i bumped the guy behind me(who easily outweighed me by 120 pounds), I said "oh, excuse me" he just started yelling, and shoving me into the doors, luckily for me, some really big guy (at least 6'5'') grabs the guy that was pushing me by the shirt and throws him backwards making him fall on his butt, he walks over to the guy and screams "who the (edited) heck do you think you are, make you feel good to pick on him, try picking on me" the guy pushing me simply ran out of the door. Anyways, after that happened i dont know if it was an age thing from when i was younger, or just something i finally figured out, but i decided i had to do something about it. and here i am 7 months later, getting ready to test for my purple belt. That right now is the reason i train but i reserve the right to change my opinion as i mateur.
I've got involved around the age of 10 because of my dad. It's become a part of me I just can't stop.
I've been interested in the arts for a long time, but cash flow, time, and other issues kept it out of my reach until recently. I got involved to learn some self defence, get in shape and play with "toys" (alright, staff n sword) :) I took 1 lesson from 1 school, went home battered n bruiced, and stuck it on the side for a few years. Took some Tai-Chi from an associate who teaches comm. ed. It was ok, but, bnot what I was looking for. Have since then taken Kenpo and Modern Arnis. Of the 2, I like the Arnis more, as it seems more "natural" to me. MY girlfriend is a brown in kenpo, and about ready for her yellow test in arnis. (I'm a bit behind... :) )

I want to learn more, but its that time factor again. If I could just spend a week, training all day..... I feel I just get up to speed and class is over too soon. :)
Originally posted by Kaith Rustaz
I want to learn more, but its that time factor again. If I could just spend a week, training all day.....

As has been mentioned here before, in the summer of 1987 Mr. Hartman and I trained many hours a day, nearly every day, in preparation for the Michigan camp. It worked. Nothing like three hour sessions once and even twice a day for a few months to bring one's arnis skills up to speed. I didn't realize how fortunate I was! He never charged me a cent. We just drilled.
I started in the Martial Arts as a teenager. I had decided on law enforcement as a career, but at the time I was lucky if I weighed in at 110 lbs soaking wet. I didn't think anyone would take me seriously, so I started taking Karate.

As my career advanced I found a lack of self defense being offered to street cops, so I started weapons training, and have been on my journey ever since.
Interestingly, I was going to try out for the volleyball team in college. I badly sprained my ankle practicing, so while recovering, I thought I'd try martial arts because someone said it would be good for my legs and I always wanted to try it. In any case, it was great and have enjoyed it ever since.


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