Thursday, 26 May 2011

How to Start learning Martial Arts....

Have you ever watched those amazing martial arts action films and thought, "What if I could do that?"? Well, anybody who is dedicated to changing their life around is able to do this. There are few life changing paths to take that will help you become a martial artist.

Great Master Adeel
Decide on a martial arts style.
You might choose a hard style, such as Muay Thai (Thailand) or Western Boxing, a semi-hard style such as Tae Kwon Do or Hapkido (Korea), a soft style traditional art, such as Aikido (Japan) or one of the many Kung Fu styles (China), or a grappling/ground fighting art, such as Jiu Jitsu (Brazil/ Japan) and Western Martial Arts (Europe). Do you want to compete one-on-one in the ring with opponents who use the same style as you, or study the traditions of a particular culture's martial art, or learn to defend yourself against real-life attackers on the street? The training methods are vastly different, and most martial arts schools focus on one aspect. Any school that purpose to make you the king of the ring plus a fully effective battleground warrior plus healthy and fit plus part of a cultural heritage is heading for "Jack of all trades and master of none" territory.

Recognize your physical limitations

               If you are older or not very acrobatic, Wushu (China) probably isn't for you, but Tai Chi (China) might suit you nicely. Furthermore, recognize that striking martial arts like Karate or TaeKwonDo may or may not be well-suited for smaller physiques. The grappling styles of Judo, Aikido, or Jiu-Jutsu, while being close-combat styled martial arts, emphasize technique and leverage and therefore become more readily useful as you progress. Likewise the combative Chinese styles are all about technique and are less dependent on your being a particular height or weight to succeed.

Consider your cultural interests.
                 If you have a respect for or interest in a certain culture, learning more through one of their martial arts can be a great experience. If that is part of your goal, choose a school taught by a native of that culture, or someone who trained directly under someone of that culture.

3rd-Dan Anjum Iqbal
Consider the effectiveness of the martial art as well.                   
                 For example, a modern martial art such as Krav Maga (Israeli), reconstructed Western Martial Arts such as ARMA or the AES (European) or classes led by experienced soldiers or police officers will place a greater emphasis on the "martial" aspect rather than the "art." This is not to say that traditional Asian arts are less important; It may take longer to learn basic self defense this way as many Eastern arts are about developing more than just basic self-defense skills. If you are willing to spend the time to fully train in many different styles you will ultimately learn to defend yourself much better than if you train at a mixed martial art school. But if your sole concern is martial efficacy and the ability to defend yourself 'on the street', the physical and mental effort required to develop those skills have to be weighed up against the effort required to purchase a can of Mace or become proficient with a small, legally obtained, manageable weapon...

 Sit in as a polite observer before joining a class, if you wish, although for some it is better to just jump straight in there, choose what works best for you.

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