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wanting to take up some sort of Martial Art, do not know where to start

MatriasMatrias Registered User regular
edited June 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Preface: I used to do karate as a kid, and it was something I really enjoyed. I unfortunately got ginormously fat around highschool and gave it up, but now that I'm not ginormously fat anymore I'd like to get back into it. It's also something I'd like to give a full effort - I'm not looking to join a club of middle-aged adults looking for exercise - I'm fairly fit now, and I'd actually like to apply that to something I treat seriously and try to be skilled at.

The problem is when I try to google some classes to start checking out, the sheer amount of local options presented paralyzes me in indecision. It's like looking for the shiniest, sharpest needle in a needle stack.

I guess what I need is someone to point me in the right direction. Are there any fellow Vancouver-ites (Vancouver Canada) on the forum who can point me in the right direction of some good, local options for learning martial arts? If not, are people aware of any other online communities where I might be able to ask similar questions?

My old instructor moved to hawaii, otherwise I'd happily rejoin his classes.

Matrias on
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  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    This is a little vague, as there are tons of various martial arts and they all have a different "style"

    I assume based on your previous experience that you're looking for something closer to karate than, say, akido or judo?

    I'm not in the area, so I can't give you any recommendations, I'm just trying to help you narrow down the field for those who can.

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  • MatriasMatrias Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I'm not particularly married to any style in particularly - I just want a positive experience.

    but yeah I guess I'm sort of already wired for karate.

    I also want something a bit more practical then learn katas, advance next belt, rinse, repeat. I'm nobecause t doing this I want to fight- I really dig the culture, philosophy, and history that some of more eastern stuffs, but at the same time (at a limited glance), the modern MMA stuff looks more practical and the people (well, one guy, and he's out of the area) who I know do it treat it seriously and really knows how to fight. So I'm sort of undecided there, but I would not turn away from either option.

    tldr i like sparring and want more of that

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  • Aroused BullAroused Bull Registered User
    edited May 2010
    The best advice I can give you is to shop around. Even within a given art like karate there's a lot of variation between styles, and even within a given style the quality of training varies by teacher. Most clubs will let you take your first class for free, so go to a bunch of them in your area until you find one you like.

    If you go for karate, from the sounds of things you want a style with traditional roots. If I was going to give you recommendations I'd probably direct you to Goju-ryu or Shotokan, both large, traditional, respected schools that can be found all around the world, but as I said, quality varies, so your best bet is just to try out whatever is available.
    For your purposes, avoid "sporty" clubs. There's nothing intrinsically bad about them, but they'll tend to focus on tournament-style sparring rather than on more practical stuff. All clubs will do kata. Depending on the club, you might not be allowed to spar until they feel you have enough basic training to be trusted not to hurt your sparring partners too much, so be prepared to train for a few weeks or more before you're allowed to spar anyone.

    In terms of practicality, I would consider karate to be highly practical with one severe flaw: it focusses almost entirely on striking, with very little grappling. That's less of a problem than watching MMMA fights would lead you to believe, though. If it's a concern for you, though, karate can be very nicely supplemented with a little grappling training, perhaps after a couple years of training in karate.
    I'd also say that with an art like karate, your practical ability is more of an S-shaped curve than you could probably expect from MMA. If you want quick returns, go for something else.

  • Platypus BeirutPlatypus Beirut Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    One of your first decisions could be whether you prefer striking or grappling.

  • SloSlo Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Some things you should probably consider.

    Grappling Vs Striking

    Weapons vs Non-weapons

    What you actually want out of it.

    Do you want to be able to do cool flips and impress people? Do you want to be able to just hurt things? Do you want a more philosophical trainer?

    We have a ton of schools all around the lower mainland, you might want to focus on your own little area of it. (Richmond, Burnaby, Surrey) because odds are the folks that you'll be training with live around there, and any after class training is a lot easier to do if you live near by.

  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Also, consider teaching styles:

    - Senseis that focus on discipline and the history and rituals of the art

    - Senseis that teach it like it's Tai-Bo

    I prefer the former by a great margin (and you're way more likely to take it seriously and find others who do as well). The only way to find out what kind of style any given dojo will teach is to go there and find out. I don't know of any dojos that won't give you the run-down on what it's going to be like.

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  • SojornSojorn Registered User
    edited May 2010
    Also something that may help you make up your mind if you have the time: Call the different schools you're interested in, and ask if it would be alright if you sit in on a class or two to get a feel for whether you will like it there or not.

    Since taking a martial art should be a long term investment for a person, it makes sense to shop around for something that suits you well. Test driving a class or two to see if it's a good fit can go a really long way towards helping you stick with it when you finally do make a decision about where you want to go.

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  • MatriasMatrias Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    shopping around dojos\schools
    Slo wrote: »
    Some things you should probably consider.

    Grappling Vs Striking

    Weapons vs Non-weapons

    What you actually want out of it.

    Do you want to be able to do cool flips and impress people? Do you want to be able to just hurt things? Do you want a more philosophical trainer?

    We have a ton of schools all around the lower mainland, you might want to focus on your own little area of it. (Richmond, Burnaby, Surrey) because odds are the folks that you'll be training with live around there, and any after class training is a lot easier to do if you live near by.

    Well,

    - Striking.

    - Non-weapons

    - Well, as horrible as it sounds to phrase it that way, hurting things. I want to learn how to fight. It's not necessary, but I'd get a kick out of a philosophical trainer too. I'd like to experience the philosophy behind it too, to better understand the history and mythology - this is actually for creative research too.
    Also, consider teaching styles:

    - Senseis that focus on discipline and the history and rituals of the art

    - Senseis that teach it like it's Tai-Bo

    I prefer the former by a great margin (and you're way more likely to take it seriously and find others who do as well). The only way to find out what kind of style any given dojo will teach is to go there and find out. I don't know of any dojos that won't give you the run-down on what it's going to be like.

    Yeah, I'd prefer the former immensely. When I hit my teens, I was the last one hanging around from my age group and had to switch from the kids classes to the adult class, and that's where it become just un-fun. The people at the adult class were all 20 years older and had a distinct "I'm-middle-aged-and-I'm-here-for-exercise-and-don't-really-care-about-how-i-get-it."

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  • SloSlo Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    If I was going to go back into a dojo, i'd probably go to http://www.vancouver-ninjutsu.com/

    They DO do a bit of weapon work though. First class is free, and its downtown.

  • MorblitzMorblitz Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Would you be willing to consider Wing Chun Kung Fu?
    Like you, I did karate when I was younger but hurt my back that's stuck with me to this day. A while ago I wanted to get back into martial arts but karate was way too hard on my back, amongst other things*
    My brother and I took up some wing chun and I realised its pretty great for my back, and quite effective without putting an overall strain on your body, because its designed to be utilised by someone who is relaxed.

    There is also a huge amount of philosophy behind it, as I'm sure you are aware. I really, really enjoy this aspect of kung fu.

    A few things I've found from practicing it.
    It is -such- a striking art. Wing chun punches and palm strikes are very scary, and their kicks even more so. Someone who knows how to do it properly (and it is difficult) can fuck your shit up. A well landed kick or punch can be felt right through the pad and into you, like a solid blow, all from a hit that didn't need to pull back for more power.

    I don't know if it's relevant, but there are a lot of doubters about the effectiveness of some wing chun stuff, I'll try to illustrate some things I've seen/experienced.

    Our first day of training, my brother talked an instructor into showing him just whats so special about the one inch punch. The instructor delivered it to my brother through a phonebook as protection, and my brother was sore for the next day. Of course the one inch punch isn't practical, but it was a good demonstration of the mechanics of wing chun nonetheless.

    We had some visiting instructors a few weeks back and one was demonstrating how to deliver a proper double palm strike to my brother and I. He wasn't aware of my back injury, and he wasn't even trying, just demonstrating, but he knocked me clear across the room. Its hard to explain, I didnt feel a 'hit' per say, he just told me he was going to do it, and suddenly I was being sent backwards. It was pretty incredible.

    The problem with wing chun is it is extremely cerebral, you need to wrap your head around a concept first, and it takes a lot, a LOT of practice sometimes. We do a lot of simple body mechanic drills that I hate, but your skills will suffer without them. Girls learn faster than boys, my girlfriend rocks at the mental stuff.
    We have a lot of 'dudes' who come in because they've tried X martial arts before or have seen it on tv. They run punching drills with us, and can't wrap their heads around the concepts, so they get tired very quickly or can't generate any force in their blows, and they get frustrated and leave, never to return.

    I say this because you need to have an open mind and be willing to challenge your views about how the body works. I've had to unlearn all my karate skills so my wing chun wouldn't suffer, and I don't regret it.

    Seriously give it at least a bit of thought, it's a very fulfilling martial art. Hope I helped, goodluck!

    Edit: There are different lineages with Wing Chun. The one I practice can actually be traced back to Bruce Lee and Ip Man, unfortunately, it is considered a dead lineage since our Sifu - Jim Fung died without really naming a successor, from what my instructors tell me.
    There are others, with different foundational theories. If you'd like, I could ask around and try to get some information for you, if interested.

    *Karate can be extremely impractical/complicated in some situations (not all, there are exceptions). I see that now when I compare actions from wing chun to karate sometimes.


    Tl;dr
    Wing chun is rad, ask me how.

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  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 2010
    Morblitz wrote: »
    Would you be willing to consider Wing Chun Kung Fu?
    Like you, I did karate when I was younger but hurt my back that's stuck with me to this day. A while ago I wanted to get back into martial arts but karate was way too hard on my back, amongst other things*
    My brother and I took up some wing chun and I realised its pretty great for my back, and quite effective without putting an overall strain on your body, because its designed to be utilised by someone who is relaxed.

    There is also a huge amount of philosophy behind it, as I'm sure you are aware. I really, really enjoy this aspect of kung fu.

    A few things I've found from practicing it.
    It is -such- a striking art. Wing chun punches and palm strikes are very scary, and their kicks even more so. Someone who knows how to do it properly (and it is difficult) can fuck your shit up. A well landed kick or punch can be felt right through the pad and into you, like a solid blow, all from a hit that didn't need to pull back for more power.

    I don't know if it's relevant, but there are a lot of doubters about the effectiveness of some wing chun stuff, I'll try to illustrate some things I've seen/experienced.

    Our first day of training, my brother talked an instructor into showing him just whats so special about the one inch punch. The instructor delivered it to my brother through a phonebook as protection, and my brother was sore for the next day. Of course the one inch punch isn't practical, but it was a good demonstration of the mechanics of wing chun nonetheless.

    We had some visiting instructors a few weeks back and one was demonstrating how to deliver a proper double palm strike to my brother and I. He wasn't aware of my back injury, and he wasn't even trying, just demonstrating, but he knocked me clear across the room. Its hard to explain, I didnt feel a 'hit' per say, he just told me he was going to do it, and suddenly I was being sent backwards. It was pretty incredible.

    The problem with wing chun is it is extremely cerebral, you need to wrap your head around a concept first, and it takes a lot, a LOT of practice sometimes. We do a lot of simple body mechanic drills that I hate, but your skills will suffer without them. Girls learn faster than boys, my girlfriend rocks at the mental stuff.
    We have a lot of 'dudes' who come in because they've tried X martial arts before or have seen it on tv. They run punching drills with us, and can't wrap their heads around the concepts, so they get tired very quickly or can't generate any force in their blows, and they get frustrated and leave, never to return.

    I say this because you need to have an open mind and be willing to challenge your views about how the body works. I've had to unlearn all my karate skills so my wing chun wouldn't suffer, and I don't regret it.

    Seriously give it at least a bit of thought, it's a very fulfilling martial art. Hope I helped, goodluck!

    Edit: There are different lineages with Wing Chun. The one I practice can actually be traced back to Bruce Lee and Ip Man, unfortunately, it is considered a dead lineage since our Sifu - Jim Fung died without really naming a successor, from what my instructors tell me.
    There are others, with different foundational theories. If you'd like, I could ask around and try to get some information for you, if interested.

    *Karate can be extremely impractical/complicated in some situations (not all, there are exceptions). I see that now when I compare actions from wing chun to karate sometimes.


    Tl;dr

    I think most of the complaints around wing chun get back to the idea that there is often little to no real sparring offered at gyms that teach it.

    I did Muay Thai for two and a half years. It was good times, but it's definitely a sport-oriented martial art. There's nothing wrong with that.

  • SimpsoniaSimpsonia Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Well if you want a non-weapon striking art that mostly dispenses with the fru-fru and is probably the most effective in the real world, try looking for a Muay Thai instructor. Muay Thai is rooted in ancient arts, but also embraces modern developments resulting from globalization. It also happens to be the most brutal, common strikes include striking someone's face with both the elbows and knees...

  • MorblitzMorblitz Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Doc wrote: »

    I think most of the complaints around wing chun get back to the idea that there is often little to no real sparring offered at gyms that teach it.

    I did Muay Thai for two and a half years. It was good times, but it's definitely a sport-oriented martial art. There's nothing wrong with that.

    Its true that there is little sparring in some clubs/gyms/whatever, it does really depend on the instructors I guess. My club has a day dedicated to actual self defense applications of wing chun, whereby we have multiple attackers against one defender with the idea of using wing chun to defend yourself. Wing chun is difficult in a sparring situation because you are supposed to end a fight when you attack. I prefer it over sparring, actually, because you can at least attempt to refine your martial art skill. In a sparring situation, technique often goes out the window (It is hard to spar in any striking martial art, honestly). I have other stories to relate to sparring, There's more to the self defense class at my gym of course, I'm just glossing over it to keep the post small as I don't want to derail this thread. If anyone is interested in discussing this further I welcome PMs.

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  • Aroused BullAroused Bull Registered User
    edited May 2010
    I'll just point out that the people giving you advice are naturally all going to talk more favourably about their own preferred martial arts, myself included, so take any comparisons with a grain of salt. Try different stuff out, and reach your own decision.

  • KaeKae Registered User
    edited May 2010
    I'd agree with the recommendation to go around to the different clubs, observe a couple of classes, ask if you participate in some of them. Any good instructor will allow you to do so.

    Personal story . . . I was in a shukokai karate club that I adored back home. I moved countries for school, tried the shotokan and shito-ryu karate clubs on campus, and hated every second of their training. They didn't give any sort of individualized help or instruction, and they expected you to learn techniques and katas just by observing the black belts.

    So, really, all clubs aren't equal. Shop around, try them out, find one you like.

    I'm still looking for one that I like, but, unfortunately, I have gotten lazy and gained a few pounds and a back problem in the interim, so I need to address those issues first. I'm getting there, but it's taking time. :/

    Wing chun sounds interesting. I may have to try that. :)

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  • Aroused BullAroused Bull Registered User
    edited May 2010
    Kae wrote: »
    Personal story . . . I was in a shukokai karate club that I adored back home. I moved countries for school, tried the shotokan and shito-ryu karate clubs on campus, and hated every second of their training. They didn't give any sort of individualized help or instruction, and they expected you to learn techniques and katas just by observing the black belts.
    This is a good example of what I mean. I've seen good quality shotokan training, but I don't doubt that Kae has seen some bad quality. Different teachers teaching the same style can vary so much that any statement like "X style is better than Y style" is almost useless for determining the quality of training in a given location. That's especially true for something like Shotokan which isn't a single unified style in any case.

  • ReitenReiten Registered User
    edited May 2010
    It's been written above, but I want to reemphasize it. Go to a bunch of different dojo and observe. Watch what kind of teacher(s) and students there are. How they instruct. etc etc. Since you're not wed to a particular style, this is the best way to do it (to be honest, even if you were wed to a particular style, you should still do this).

  • Indica1Indica1 Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Matrias wrote: »

    Well,

    - Striking.

    - Non-weapons

    - Well, as horrible as it sounds to phrase it that way, hurting things. I want to learn how to fight. It's not necessary, but I'd get a kick out of a philosophical trainer too. I'd like to experience the philosophy behind it too, to better understand the history and mythology - this is actually for creative research too.

    Okay, well if you want striking and want to learn how to fight, you need to do something that has a competitive framework and uses full contact sparring.

    I'm gonna start by saying TKD and Wing Chun are out the window if you want to do anything practical. The focus on point sparring in TKD means that most of it is very impractical for self defense. Wing Chun practitioners rarely spar, and generally all sparring they do would be in house among senior students in a very restricted way. Even the comments in this thread point to this:

    "I prefer it over sparring, actually, because you can at least attempt to refine your martial art skill. In a sparring situation, technique often goes out the window (It is hard to spar in any striking martial art, honestly)."

    The belief that technique goes out the window when sparring is very indicative of the type of sparring and the type of techniques used in wing chun. This is not a shot at that poster, just making a point.

    My reccomendations for striking martial arts would be:

    Muay Thai (both very practical, and has the history/cultural aspect you mentioned.)

    Boxing (not what most people think of as a "martial art" but still practical despite the limited ruleset)

    San Shou/San Da (Tthis is a term that refers to a Chinese kick boxing rule set originally designed to test different Chinese martial arts against one another. In recent years San Da has become something of it's own style. It is taught at kung fu schools of all types, but is often hard to find.

    All three of these are competitive martial arts, and that gives the added benefit of keeping its trainers honest. You will know if a trainer knows his stuff, because he will have a team of fighters that are out there competing and winning fights.

    While you are checking out different gyms to find out what you like, keep in mind that a major red flag is people trying to tell you that they teach techniques that are "deadly" especially "too deadly for the ring." This is the mantra of marital arts charlatans.


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  • NylonathetepNylonathetep Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Indica1 wrote: »

    snip

    My reccomendations for striking martial arts would be:

    Muay Thai (both very practical, and has the history/cultural aspect you mentioned.)

    Boxing (not what most people think of as a "martial art" but still practical despite the limited ruleset)

    San Shou/San Da (Tthis is a term that refers to a Chinese kick boxing rule set originally designed to test different Chinese martial arts against one another. In recent years San Da has become something of it's own style. It is taught at kung fu schools of all types, but is often hard to find.

    All three of these are competitive martial arts, and that gives the added benefit of keeping its trainers honest. You will know if a trainer knows his stuff, because he will have a team of fighters that are out there competing and winning fights.

    While you are checking out different gyms to find out what you like, keep in mind that a major red flag is people trying to tell you that they teach techniques that are "deadly" especially "too deadly for the ring." This is the mantra of marital arts charlatans.

    It's a pretty inclusive list and Indica pretty much nailed it. Most MMA fights are Muy Tai, karate, practitioners. With that being said there really isn't one school of Martial Art that will completely teaches you how to Spar. Generally people train 2 to 3 different types to compensates for shortcomings and modify it into their own system.

    My co-worker used to do a bit of Karate, and now is doing Boxing. He's training for boxing because other disciplines doesn't teach you footing and head-movement as much. Brazilian Jujitsu is for grounds (whatever that means) ; people usually train that or Judo for takedown moves in case if they end up fighting on the ground.

    I would recommend Muay Tai, except it's pretty hard to train... people literally punch against trees for hours a day to harden the bones of their fist. Their short-range attacks are pretty deadly thou, especially their elbow and knee jabs. It's not something you want to do unless you are completely hardcore.

    My personal recommendation are Krav Maga http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krav_Maga, and LINE System (Linear Infighting Neural Override Engagement) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LINE_%28combat_system%29 .. but good luck finding people that will teach you those.

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  • Platypus BeirutPlatypus Beirut Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Matrias wrote: »
    - Well, as horrible as it sounds to phrase it that way, hurting things. I want to learn how to fight. It's not necessary, but I'd get a kick out of a philosophical trainer too. I'd like to experience the philosophy behind it too, to better understand the history and mythology - this is actually for creative research too.
    Krav Maga hasn't been mentioned yet - it's a very efficient style of self-defense which is used by special units around the world. However, it focusses on quickly neutralizing your attacker or escaping from him, so it might not be what you're looking for. It's also very brutal.

  • Indica1Indica1 Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Just want to clarify, the punching trees for hours a day is like the days of yore type of legends they have about Muay Thai, not the modern day realities. Nowadays, they use heavy bags, even in Thailand.

    Also, I would not recommend training at an MMA gym unless you want to compete in MMA or the gym specializes in the martial art you want to take. Training in MMA without having a solid base to build on is not the greatest, because in order to get even decent at a particular martial art, it takes bare minimum 2 times a week on that discipline. You are better off doing wrestling 3 times a week than one day of boxing, one day of jujitsu, and one day of wrestling.


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  • NylonathetepNylonathetep Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    My other friend used to do wing-chun... he got a bit of a weight problem an his parents forced him to go... but then he weaseled out saying he hurt his wrist. From our conversation he really enjoyed it thought, he just doesn't like the stamina training and the 10k run they make him do.

    Wing-chun is an interesting system: Their basic punches are two arms rubbing against each other from the elbows and while it doesn't create enough separation between you and your opponent it does pack a force and can be continuously chained together... always punching at your opponent without leaving an opening. They also don't utilizes a lot of kicks. I can't say I'm too familiar with it but it's not all completely useless. Wing Chun also teaches you a lot of locks and counters too. For some strange reason you don't see any Wing Chun in MMA.

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  • dlinfinitidlinfiniti Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    in re:sparring
    if you want to train your art for practicality you also have to train with 'aliveness'
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3r-G33oKHc
    yeah i know you wanna do striking and stuff but the principle is the same
    sparring is incredibly important
    also
    spoiled for long but same message as above:

    AAAAA!!! PLAAAYGUUU!!!!
  • RaekreuRaekreu Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    My other friend used to do wing-chun... he got a bit of a weight problem an his parents forced him to go... but then he weaseled out saying he hurt his wrist. From our conversation he really enjoyed it thought, he just doesn't like the stamina training and the 10k run they make him do.

    Wing-chun is an interesting system: Their basic punches are two arms rubbing against each other from the elbows and while it doesn't create enough separation between you and your opponent it does pack a force and can be continuously chained together... always punching at your opponent without leaving an opening. They also don't utilizes a lot of kicks. I can't say I'm too familiar with it but it's not all completely useless. Wing Chun also teaches you a lot of locks and counters too. For some strange reason you don't see any Wing Chun in MMA.

    I studied Wing Chun for about 2 1/2 years so I've got a right to make fun of it.

    The reason why you don't see it in MMA fights is because if you used it on that level of competition you would get your ass beaten to a bloody pulp. As a self-defense system I've got no beef with it, a lot of what the system has to offer is very good in an 'I don't wanna get mugged' scenario. In the ring, most of the moves from the higher skill levels would get you disqualified for poor sportsmanship. And that's only if you were able to survive the onslaught of incredibly powerful strikes that other, more ring-friendly styles have on their offering list.

    There are 3 'forms' that you study to get you familiar with the workings of the style (similar to a very long kata or a tai chi exercise) and the 3rd one (called biu jee, 'flying fingers' iirc) emphasizes eye gouging, throat punching, groin kicking, ear-ripping-offery, finger breaking, and various other dirty tricks.

    I know that it's cliched, but Bruce Lee studied Wing Chun as a teenager/young man and when he got older added a ton of ideas and techniques from other styles because so much wasn't covered by what he'd learned. As a style it has its place but when compared to others it doesn't especially stand out.

  • FallingmanFallingman Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I'd really suggest seeing a few classes. I'm a big believer in the idea that good instructor will make or break the whole experience for you. I'd even go so far as to say it's more important the the style you select (especially when you get into variations of the same art). I'd keep a wary eye out for the kinds of comments mentioned above - as anyone telliing you that their art is the deadliest etc is not worth your time.

    There's nothing wrong with a good Karate school - it's a pretty decent art. Just be aware that classes will vary widely in the spectrum of Tradition/history --> Street Application. Take some time to discover where your interest lies. Personally, I'm just as disinterested in someone that tells me I will be able to KO people with my Chi, as I am in the latest "100% Street tested combat system".

    I'd queue up a number of classes to go and have a look at.

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  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2010
    Raekreu wrote: »
    My other friend used to do wing-chun... he got a bit of a weight problem an his parents forced him to go... but then he weaseled out saying he hurt his wrist. From our conversation he really enjoyed it thought, he just doesn't like the stamina training and the 10k run they make him do.

    Wing-chun is an interesting system: Their basic punches are two arms rubbing against each other from the elbows and while it doesn't create enough separation between you and your opponent it does pack a force and can be continuously chained together... always punching at your opponent without leaving an opening. They also don't utilizes a lot of kicks. I can't say I'm too familiar with it but it's not all completely useless. Wing Chun also teaches you a lot of locks and counters too. For some strange reason you don't see any Wing Chun in MMA.

    I studied Wing Chun for about 2 1/2 years so I've got a right to make fun of it.

    The reason why you don't see it in MMA fights is because if you used it on that level of competition you would get your ass beaten to a bloody pulp. As a self-defense system I've got no beef with it, a lot of what the system has to offer is very good in an 'I don't wanna get mugged' scenario. In the ring, most of the moves from the higher skill levels would get you disqualified for poor sportsmanship. And that's only if you were able to survive the onslaught of incredibly powerful strikes that other, more ring-friendly styles have on their offering list.

    There are 3 'forms' that you study to get you familiar with the workings of the style (similar to a very long kata or a tai chi exercise) and the 3rd one (called biu jee, 'flying fingers' iirc) emphasizes eye gouging, throat punching, groin kicking, ear-ripping-offery, finger breaking, and various other dirty tricks.

    I know that it's cliched, but Bruce Lee studied Wing Chun as a teenager/young man and when he got older added a ton of ideas and techniques from other styles because so much wasn't covered by what he'd learned. As a style it has its place but when compared to others it doesn't especially stand out.

    I was actually going to recommend Jeet Kune Do, as it's from an eastern tradition but adds in going full force against a guy in enough padding to take it. It's also very friendly to bringing in preexisting knowledge, so they probably won't try to deprogram you to get rid of your karate habits.

    Really, though, you might want to try calling up your local karate dojos and asking how they concentrate on Kumite. You'd get to continue your studies, but hopefully with more practice. This, of course, assumes that you want to stick with what you want rather than create a personal hybrid.

    There's always olympic judo and tae kwon doe (sic), which are both highly competative.

    If you want something useful but different, every nation has its own type of stick fighting. I assume you can find a stick.

    For MMA, you should remember that pretty much every rule it has unintentionally encourages a type of fighting that is incredibly stupid. Pretty much every combative tells you to never let yourself touch the ground (ARMA recently added an essay about how even medieval fighting manuals stress this fact). In MMA, ground fighting is considered the most important part of the competition. That's because you can't bite, grad genitals, call friends, step on necks, draw a weapon, or pick up a rock and crush his skull. This is also where the "too deadly for the ring" concept came from before hijacked for idiots, as that list also function as the core techniques of krav maga.

    I think you should look into into wushu, as it is a multidisciplinary system based around competition. That means that you'll have a very versatile knowledge of different fighting conditions and armaments, meaning that there's a high chance that you'll learn something applicable to any problems you might encounter. I, personally, prefer Kalarippayattu for multidisciplinary systems, but that's mainly because both the hand-to-hand techniques and weapons are crazy. They have a fucking sword that you can wear as a fucking belt.

    I'm not sure how common it is, but unifight sounds really cool. It's like a mix between parkour, MMA, and Halo.

    Of course, the best fighting style is obviously Jūkendō, mostly because of what it trains you to use, but also because you can follow it up with krav maga to found a style called "Jewkendo."

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    The rest of you, I fucking hate you for the fact that I now have a blue dot on this god awful thread.
  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 2010
    Matrias wrote: »
    - Well, as horrible as it sounds to phrase it that way, hurting things. I want to learn how to fight. It's not necessary, but I'd get a kick out of a philosophical trainer too. I'd like to experience the philosophy behind it too, to better understand the history and mythology - this is actually for creative research too.
    Krav Maga hasn't been mentioned yet - it's a very efficient style of self-defense which is used by special units around the world. However, it focusses on quickly neutralizing your attacker or escaping from him, so it might not be what you're looking for. It's also very brutal.

    While all of what you said is true (example: if you are being choked, the defense is to not try to "sweep off" the attackers arms. You grab them to gain leverage as you knee them in the balls until they let you go), it's very difficult to find decent Krav Maga gyms. That, and the fact that it was a martial art developed by and for armed forces means that a lot of the basics of it assume that you are armed. That is, "give yourself room to draw your sidearm" is a big part of training, by my understanding.

  • MatriasMatrias Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    You guys are super overwhelming. :S this is a lot to absorb...

    I realize I still have a search to do to find something right for me and will have to sit in on more then a few classes, but what I think what I've been having trouble communicating is I really want isn't really choosing a style (though it does help!) but help finding me a good instructor. As Fallingman points out, I expect that to be the factor that makes or breaks things.

    I appreciate the local recommendation on the previous page, so I'm going to try and sit in on that ninjutsu class posted earlier, it might not be exactly what I'm looking for.
    Personally, I'm just as disinterested in someone that tells me I will be able to KO people with my chi.
    I, however, will not be satisfied until I find an instructor that will teach me how to perform a perfect Shinku Hadou Ken.
    Spoiler:

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  • DarksierDarksier Registered User
    edited May 2010
    Matrias wrote: »
    The problem is when I try to google some classes to start checking out, the sheer amount of local options presented paralyzes me in indecision. It's like looking for the shiniest, sharpest needle in a needle stack.

    Well perhaps for a change you should try out some fencing or kendo!
    To begin...they are impractical in a real scenario (unless you sport a pencil mustache and challenge superspies to duel on a daily baisis). Assuming you get a proper teacher, you'll get an intense workout and a better understanding of how sword based combat worked. I found that I enjoyed the level of mind games you end up playing with your opponent. I ended up sticking with Kendo after several years because its been the only one that I haven't grown bored with. I enjoy the personal development, the cultural elements and even the sport (didn't expect to be drawn into that facet). And it satisfies my weekly violence quota as sparring is routine, and I can spar at full speed and power since we wear armor and use shinai - minimizing chance for injury. So maybe give a dueling sport a try? ....buuuut if you want practical weapon combat...try eskrima.

  • RaekreuRaekreu Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Ahh, good instructor, Matrias? I'll do one better and go over my checklist for finding a good school.

    -Owner/headmaster/sensei/sifu: Does the guy show up and instruct classes? Or is he just there a few times a week to make sure the building hasn't burned down?

    -Secondary Instructors: Are they enthusiastic? Do the students seem to like and trust them? Do they push students to improve without risking injury?

    -Expenses: Do they want you to sign a lengthy, binding contract? Do the costs for tuition and equipment seem unusually steep?

    -Classes: How many people are attending each training session? Do typical classes focus on proper technique or on physical conditioning?

    -Other students: Do they look like they mean business? ie, Do they appear to have knowledge of proper technique and restraint for the drills they are performing?

    -Training Floor: Does the training equipment (focus mitts, kick shields, belly bands, punching bags, etc) appear to be in good condition? Is there enough of it to go around if attendance is higher than usual? Does it look like a lot of the students have athlete's foot?

    That's my $.02 on the matter. I think this is a pretty good check list, though.

  • LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Raekreu wrote: »
    Ahh, good instructor, Matrias? I'll do one better and go over my checklist for finding a good school.

    -Owner/headmaster/sensei/sifu: Does the guy show up and instruct classes? Or is he just there a few times a week to make sure the building hasn't burned down?

    -Secondary Instructors: Are they enthusiastic? Do the students seem to like and trust them? Do they push students to improve without risking injury?

    -Expenses: Do they want you to sign a lengthy, binding contract? Do the costs for tuition and equipment seem unusually steep?

    -Classes: How many people are attending each training session? Do typical classes focus on proper technique or on physical conditioning?

    -Other students: Do they look like they mean business? ie, Do they appear to have knowledge of proper technique and restraint for the drills they are performing?

    -Training Floor: Does the training equipment (focus mitts, kick shields, belly bands, punching bags, etc) appear to be in good condition? Is there enough of it to go around if attendance is higher than usual? Does it look like a lot of the students have athlete's foot?

    That's my $.02 on the matter. I think this is a pretty good check list, though.

    This is a really good list, and I strongly recommend people take it in to consideration. I would lime it, but that would be really, really ugly.

    sig.gif
  • KendeathwalkerKendeathwalker Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    if no one has said krav maga.. Ill say it.. Krav maga. Its.. practical. not much art in it though.. its about inflicting the hurt and getting away..

  • AvicusAvicus Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I know you said that you would like to do a striking art but have a look at grappling too. I always assumed that I wanted to hit people if I had to defend myself but ended up going to a couple judo lessons and then started brazilian juijustu.

    Everyone knows how to throw their fists at you to an extent but not many people know what to do when you take them down, choke them out, or tear their limbs from the sockets. When combined with strikes it is pretty unstoppable against untrained opponents.

    The big 3 grappling arts are Brazilian Juijutsu, Judo, and Wrestling. BJJ is about advancing position and working towards a submission. Judo is primarily about takedowns. Wrestling is about controling your opponent's body.

    Judo is one of the most widely available martial arts in the world. Its extremely cheap compared to the others too. I'm not sure but from what I hear wrestling is massive in America. Don't know if it is around much in Canada.

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  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2010
    Avicus wrote: »
    I know you said that you would like to do a striking art but have a look at grappling too. I always assumed that I wanted to hit people if I had to defend myself but ended up going to a couple judo lessons and then started brazilian juijustu.

    Everyone knows how to throw their fists at you to an extent but not many people know what to do when you take them down, choke them out, or tear their limbs from the sockets. When combined with strikes it is pretty unstoppable against untrained opponents.

    The big 3 grappling arts are Brazilian Juijutsu, Judo, and Wrestling. BJJ is about advancing position and working towards a submission. Judo is primarily about takedowns. Wrestling is about controling your opponent's body.

    Judo is one of the most widely available martial arts in the world. Its extremely cheap compared to the others too. I'm not sure but from what I hear wrestling is massive in America. Don't know if it is around much in Canada.

    Wrestling is also a very stupid thing to do, though, because it involves fighting on the ground, which opens you up to thousands of things that are illegal in competition because they are dangerous and/or unsportsmanlike. If you can get an opponent of the ground, just start kicking him in the head and neck until he stops trying to get up.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    The rest of you, I fucking hate you for the fact that I now have a blue dot on this god awful thread.
  • dlinfinitidlinfiniti Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Scalfin wrote: »
    Avicus wrote: »
    I know you said that you would like to do a striking art but have a look at grappling too. I always assumed that I wanted to hit people if I had to defend myself but ended up going to a couple judo lessons and then started brazilian juijustu.

    Everyone knows how to throw their fists at you to an extent but not many people know what to do when you take them down, choke them out, or tear their limbs from the sockets. When combined with strikes it is pretty unstoppable against untrained opponents.

    The big 3 grappling arts are Brazilian Juijutsu, Judo, and Wrestling. BJJ is about advancing position and working towards a submission. Judo is primarily about takedowns. Wrestling is about controling your opponent's body.

    Judo is one of the most widely available martial arts in the world. Its extremely cheap compared to the others too. I'm not sure but from what I hear wrestling is massive in America. Don't know if it is around much in Canada.

    Wrestling is also a very stupid thing to do, though, because it involves fighting on the ground, which opens you up to thousands of things that are illegal in competition because they are dangerous and/or unsportsmanlike. If you can get an opponent of the ground, just start kicking him in the head and neck until he stops trying to get up.

    yes and no
    wrestling teaches you how to fight in a clinch and how to maintain an advantageous body position which is extremely important in a fight
    obviously in the real world, ground fighting is less than ideal and probably not where you want to be fighting if there are other people around, but wrestling also teaches you to avoid and defend against people who would rather do that with you
    especially as MMA grows, people more and more are learning ground fighting arts like bjj, so the chances you of you running into a practitioner are getting higher.

    if you want to strike, make sure your school also teaches clinch fighting and takedown defense (and no, defense is not more offense)

    AAAAA!!! PLAAAYGUUU!!!!
  • CabezoneCabezone Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Scalfin wrote: »
    Avicus wrote: »
    I know you said that you would like to do a striking art but have a look at grappling too. I always assumed that I wanted to hit people if I had to defend myself but ended up going to a couple judo lessons and then started brazilian juijustu.

    Everyone knows how to throw their fists at you to an extent but not many people know what to do when you take them down, choke them out, or tear their limbs from the sockets. When combined with strikes it is pretty unstoppable against untrained opponents.

    The big 3 grappling arts are Brazilian Juijutsu, Judo, and Wrestling. BJJ is about advancing position and working towards a submission. Judo is primarily about takedowns. Wrestling is about controling your opponent's body.

    Judo is one of the most widely available martial arts in the world. Its extremely cheap compared to the others too. I'm not sure but from what I hear wrestling is massive in America. Don't know if it is around much in Canada.

    Wrestling is also a very stupid thing to do, though, because it involves fighting on the ground, which opens you up to thousands of things that are illegal in competition because they are dangerous and/or unsportsmanlike. If you can get an opponent of the ground, just start kicking him in the head and neck until he stops trying to get up.

    Man, you don't know shit. The better wrestler will decide where the fight is going to be. A strong wrestling base is the best way to ensure you stay on your feet when you want to and if you do hit the ground, how to get back up quickly.

    Wrestling isn't all about rolling around on the ground.

  • SloSlo Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Matrias wrote: »
    You guys are super overwhelming. :S this is a lot to absorb...

    I realize I still have a search to do to find something right for me and will have to sit in on more then a few classes, but what I think what I've been having trouble communicating is I really want isn't really choosing a style (though it does help!) but help finding me a good instructor. As Fallingman points out, I expect that to be the factor that makes or breaks things.

    I appreciate the local recommendation on the previous page, so I'm going to try and sit in on that ninjutsu class posted earlier, it might not be exactly what I'm looking for.
    Personally, I'm just as disinterested in someone that tells me I will be able to KO people with my chi.
    I, however, will not be satisfied until I find an instructor that will teach me how to perform a perfect Shinku Hadou Ken.
    Spoiler:



    If you do that, tell me how it is, I went like 2 years ago for a free class and I thought it was great, and now im curious.

  • AvicusAvicus Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Scalfin wrote: »
    Avicus wrote: »
    I know you said that you would like to do a striking art but have a look at grappling too. I always assumed that I wanted to hit people if I had to defend myself but ended up going to a couple judo lessons and then started brazilian juijustu.

    Everyone knows how to throw their fists at you to an extent but not many people know what to do when you take them down, choke them out, or tear their limbs from the sockets. When combined with strikes it is pretty unstoppable against untrained opponents.

    The big 3 grappling arts are Brazilian Juijutsu, Judo, and Wrestling. BJJ is about advancing position and working towards a submission. Judo is primarily about takedowns. Wrestling is about controling your opponent's body.

    Judo is one of the most widely available martial arts in the world. Its extremely cheap compared to the others too. I'm not sure but from what I hear wrestling is massive in America. Don't know if it is around much in Canada.

    Wrestling is also a very stupid thing to do, though, because it involves fighting on the ground, which opens you up to thousands of things that are illegal in competition because they are dangerous and/or unsportsmanlike. If you can get an opponent of the ground, just start kicking him in the head and neck until he stops trying to get up.

    Or maybe your goal is to not accidently kill him by kicking him in the head and just trying to delay the fight so no-one gets injured until it is broken up. Or would this scenario have glass, the other guy's friends and have the mythical lava on the ground to prevent grappling there?
    dlinfiniti wrote:
    wrestling teaches you how to fight in a clinch and how to maintain an advantageous body position which is extremely important in a fight
    obviously in the real world, ground fighting is less than ideal and probably not where you want to be fighting if there are other people around, but wrestling also teaches you to avoid and defend against people who would rather do that with you
    especially as MMA grows, people more and more are learning ground fighting arts like bjj, so the chances you of you running into a practitioner are getting higher.

    That last bit is a yes and no as well. Lots of people come into the gym, pay for 2-3 months (or whatever the minimum is) and then stop going after a week. Its ridiculous. The class sizes have gone up by 2 since I started (not counting the people that are only there for a week). But there is no denying that MMA is getting more and more popular. I just think that the majority of the fans are the Ed Hardy wearing douches who boo when fighters are on the ground for more than a minute even though they are clearly advancing the position. These people would never do BJJ.

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  • AethosAethos Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    You said you're interested in fighting, what kind of fighting exactly? Are you talking like tournament style fighting (for points, usually less intense, only have to make enough contact for the strike to be noticed), more full-contact type fighting, MMA fighting, or getting into a fight on the street/bar/party? If it's the last, nothing can really teach you that, but it probably isn't.

    I would highly recommend Judo to anyone and everyone, no matter fitness level or what you want. For a class or two a week you'll wind up with eagle-like grip and forearms of steel. Not to mention it is one of the few martial arts that is (almost) solely focused on takedowns, takedown defence and how to do both properly. It's fun, active, addicting, and the sparring is a GREAT time.

    From personal experience I would suggest some sort of kickboxing or boxing for self defense. I took TKD for 8 years (competitively) and did some Karate when I was younger as well, as well as training at a few places trying to find my fit. I didn't find a single "traditional martial art" that taught how to properly avoid, as well as take, a hit. From experience I can say blocking does work, and is effective, but it sucks. Your elbows and forearms end up getting pounded and it hurts like hell when the other person knows how to throw a strike. There's no feeling quite like slipping a punch with head movement and landing a solid hook for a knockdown.

    But as many people have said, and people in the real world have proven, anything can be effective depending on the person, it's all about finding what's right for your body. You can probably visit clubs, observe and take part in a few classes before having to sign up fully, and you should. Even something like fencing is fun as hell, and helps incredibly at getting used to fast paced timings of fights, and judging ranges in a split second, and even keeping balance while twisting away from a point and delivering your own.

  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    this gets asked enough that I'm getting a set of links worked up on it

    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showpost.php?p=6599852&postcount=6

    http://www.bullshido.org/Finding_a_good_martial_arts_school

    http://www.24fightingchickens.com/2006/02/01/how-to-shop-for-a-good-karate-club/

    my short answer? take up judo. don't worry about the lack of striking you won't notice it after a while.

    "Maybe we're here to eat the sandwich." -- Joe Rogan
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