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Kosher Kung-Fu!!

EmanonEmanon __BANNED USERS regular
edited December 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
For the last few years I lifted weights to stay in shape and it mostly keeps me looking good. Though it's getting a little old and I'm looking for a new way to stay in shape. So now I'm interested in learning martial arts. Not just for fitness but also flexibility, I can barely touch my toes.

So... what should I look for in a training center, how much should I pay, what should I expect and so on?

What martial arts do you recommend? I'm currently looking at Krav Maga.

Treats Animals Right!
Emanon on

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    MunacraMunacra Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Don't look at Krav Maga.

    Instead!

    Look into BJJ, Judo, Boxing, Sambo, Muay Thai, Wrestling, and Kyukushin Karate. Look for a place that actively whose students actively compete. Judo is the cheapest of the bunch, but prices vary depending on your location. Don't pay any more than 100 per month, and usually it's much less. Expect to get your ass beat a lot and get in good shape.

    Munacra on
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    JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Place at the tableRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    A lot of people are about to piss in your ear. I'm just going to repost what I posted in the last thread like this

    it can be kind of hard for the layperson to choose a martial art because, you know, how do you tell a good teacher or school from a bad one at a surface glance?

    I actually highly recommend trying it, though, because, for one thing, I can't stand "hamster wheel" style exercise, and a good martial arts class is intense. Right now, I'm recovering from a rather bad bought of respiratory illness, but I trained for in various martial arts for many years (14-27), and I should be back on the mat soon, training for MMA competition.

    People will have a lot to say about styles and you should train this and you shouldn't train this.

    There are very few ranks in martial arts or names of styles that really mean anything. "Kung fu" one place and "Kung fu" another place could look totally different, and TKD one place could be just like Dwight Schrute's class and it could be totally hard core at another place. What name they put on the sign doesn't matter that much.

    I think there are basically things that matter, once your expectations are addressed.

    1. Does the place teach a useful martial art in a realistic manner?

    2. Is it affordable and are the billing practices fair?

    3. Are the things being taught in keeping with my goals?

    4. Are the claims being made by the instructor about what he can deliver realistic?

    5. Do I find the workout challenging and worthwhile?

    6. Is the general intensity level of the place in keeping with mine?

    7. Is the facility convenient and a place I want to spend time?


    As far as number one goes, I think a useful martial art taught in a realistic manner is a martial art that either teaches a general approach to all 3 ranges of combat (standing, clinching, and grappling) or specializes well in one range. The realism comes in as part of the training. Realistic training is alive, with lots of what's called "pressure testing," which should take the form of sparring or hard drilling. It doesn't have to be formal competition, but highly competitive martial arts seem to turn out the best fighters.

    Affordability is subject to your local conditions, and as far as fairness - martial arts are regulated basically like health clubs, so the same sort of buyer beware sense should apply.

    Your goals are kind of important. You didn't say anything about a NEED to fight, like being bullied or stalked or robbed, so I would recommend you avoid some of the "survival" oriented stuff like Krav Maga, Kali or kajukembo. That's things like knife fighting, dirty fighting, street awareness. You seem like you want a good workout with a sport element, and a little practicality as a side effect, from what I can tell. Your post didn't indicate to me that you were interested in a particular culture or region or anything. To me, that flags arts like Judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, boxing, kickboxing, muay thai - things with a hard workout and a fun sport element.

    You instructor shouldn't promise you crazy self defense abilities in a short time. He should promise you sensible advancement in skill and condition.

    You obviously want a good workout that won't destroy you - and one great thing about martial arts is as an activity, it scales well. You will probably be sore the first few times you go, just because you're using alien muscle groups that you don't normally use, but as long as you don't wander into the bad dojo from karate kid, they should be able to work with you at your level.

    Intensity is a matter of knowing what you want out of the martial arts. For example, where I train, it's pretty intense. It's a dingy, basement gym, and the basic purpose of the place is to groom fighters for the cage. People that want a workout are welcome, but if their goal isn't competition, they are going to be used to train the fighters. You will either spar standing, grappling, or mixed every day, at a level hard enough to leave bruises. Obviously, that's not for everyone. Dwight Schrute's school would be the opposite end of the spectrum - and yes, I've seen real schools every bit that bad.

    Most schools have tiered classes for beginners, intermediate, advanced, and then competitive students, so this isn't always an issue with picking a school so much as being placed in the right class in the school.
    The convince of the location is obviously something you have to figure out, but as far as wanting to spend time there, I favor places with showers over places without, places with extra equipment - like a weight room or cardio stuff over those without, and I'm not afraid to ask, politely, how often stuff, particularly grappling mats, gets cleaned.

    On a personal note, I have had the most fun training Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo.

    JohnnyCache on
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