If you’re not Daniel LaRusso from the movie “Karate Kid” and you’re not lucky enough to live next door to karate master Miyagi, chances are you’ll have to do some serious research before you can decide which martial art is right for you. You will need to understand what your goal is, find a martial art form that suits you, and choose a school and a master. Remember that there are no martial art forms that are superior to others, only martial artists that are superior to others. All arts have their strengths and weaknesses. Choose the one that suits you best.
1. Learn Jiujitsu for self-defense.
Most of the time, people choose a martial art to learn how to defend themselves. That’s the reason Daniel LaRusso did it. Is someone harassing you? Are you afraid of being harassed in the future? Every martial art will teach you how to defend yourself. Your goal should be to find a martial art that emphasizes defensive techniques and getting out of catching situations. In a way, jiujitsu is one of these types of martial arts, as it allows you to use the energy and strength of your opponent’s attack against yourself, which is why it allows you to subdue stronger or more massive attackers.
When you find yourself in a situation where you need to defend yourself, Jiujitsu will help you dodge frontal attacks, pull out of a hold and gain the upper hand quickly. Remember that every martial art allows for defense, but they may have a different way of handling the confrontation. Jiujitsu is a happy medium.
2. Get in shape with kung fu.
The second most popular reason people take up martial arts is to get physical exercise, burn fat and build muscle, and improve coordination. All martial arts can do this, but depending on your exercise goals, you may prefer one martial art over another. Kung fu is a great way to exercise. Since kung fu is composed of slow stances and powerful blocks, it trains every muscle in the body.It is likewise one of the most focused types of combative techniques.
Since kung fu trains all the muscles, there are styles of kung fu that allow you to train your upper body or your lower body for strength and flexibility. If you prefer to use your upper body, you could choose the “western boxing” style or perhaps the “shotokan karate” style from Japan. Alternatively, if you prefer your legs to be in good shape, you could choose a martial art style that places more emphasis on leg strength and agility like taekwondo.
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3. Increase your self-confidence with naginatajutsu.
Naginatajutsu today is a martial art and art form that teaches rules, respect and self-confidence. Martial arts such as naginatajutsu increase self-confidence by building self-awareness, developing muscle mass and teaching new skills. Many people who enter the dojo for the first time suffer from low self-esteem or simply don’t believe in themselves. This may be the reason you chose a martial art. If this is the case, you should find a program and a master that will help you grow rather than cower inwardly. Naginatjustu instructors encourage positive feelings and experiences. Positive reinforcement is an essential aspect when you make the decision to take up a martial art.
4. Try taekwondo to train your discipline and self-control.
Taekwondo is the most popular martial art in the world. This is probably due to the fact that it was added to the Olympic sports in 1988. Many people consider Taekwondo to be an art form and that is why it is necessary to have excellent self control. You need to have enough discipline to make every movement fluid, graceful, and aware. Since movement and form are very important, many people find that taekwondo is a great way to learn discipline and self-control (in children or anyone).
Martial arts are organized and hierarchical experiences, so it requires a high level of discipline and self-control to do well. During your training, you may be faced with instructions that go against your logical reasoning. When Miyagi asked the Karate Kid to polish his car, Daniel could not understand what this activity could teach him about martial arts. It was only later that he realized that the master knew more than he did. Follow your master as best as you can. Listen to his instructions. Train regularly. This discipline will help you become a better martial artist and you can also apply it to your daily life.
5. Prepare for battle in the ring with kickboxing.
In the 1970s, martial arts professionals in the U.S. found themselves frustrated with the rules set up at tournaments. They craved contact. A group broke away and created kickboxing. Competitors prepare for matches by using kicks, punches, blocks and air boxing. Since kickboxing has its origins in physical contact and competition, it is an excellent martial art form for those interested in getting in the ring.
Some martial arts do not place as much emphasis on getting into the ring. Traditional kung fu styles like wing chun or hung gar are not taught to prepare learners for fighting in the ring. You can learn some great self-defense systems, but it will take a long time before you have a solid enough foundation to use them in a combat situation.
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6. Think about your cultural interests.
If you have respect or interest in a certain culture, you could get a lot out of it if you learn a martial art. Study krav maga if you are interested in Israel. Study taekwondo if you are interested in Korean culture. Try sumo wrestling to get a better understanding of Japanese culture.
If this is part of your goal, choose a school run by a native of that culture or by someone who has been trained directly by a native of that culture. The instruction will feel more authentic and you will come to understand many elements of the culture at the same time, such as language, gestures, history and philosophy.
7. Find a martial arts school near you.
In most cases, you will find a form of the martial art that is taught near you. If you have trouble finding a dojo or if it takes too much time, you’re going to end up with one more excuse not to go through with it. Do some research on the internet to find a dojo that teaches martial arts.
8. Choose a school you can afford.
You will rarely find the prices of the different dojos on their websites. Prices can be determined by month, by several months or by how often you train per week. In some cases, the price can be negotiated according to the number of people who will take the class (for example family rates). There are also teachers who will charge you 50 euros per month and others who will charge you 50 euros per hour. It is up to you to decide how much you want to invest depending on how much money you have available. After doing some research, you will know which schools are charging you too much money.
You can also save money by finding courses that are not taught in schools. There are some very good courses that are taught in community centers, churches, youth centers, or recreation centers. Just because a school doesn’t have a nice private facility doesn’t mean that their teaching isn’t good.Call them and ask about a possible trial period, equipment requirements and tuition fees. Also ask about hidden fees. Some schools increase their fees once you have taken a certain number of courses.
9. Participate in a trial period.
You can also get a feel for the martial art style or the master by participating in a trial period before you decide. You will have the opportunity to see what the facilities are like, meet the other members and talk to the master.
Talk to the other students. Ask them what they like and don’t like about the classes. Some martial arts aficionados may have taken classes at other schools and their experience may help you make the right choice.
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10. Ask yourself if the teaching style fits your personality.
If you want to learn a practical martial art, ask yourself if the teaching allows students to practice or if this activity is only for more advanced students who have already spent more money in the dojo? Do you want a trainer, someone who will motivate you to go further? Do you want someone who will help you increase your self-esteem? Do you want private or group lessons? The teaching style of a martial arts instructor will differ depending on the goals you have and the environment in which you are learning.
Also be aware that training for beginners, while encouraged, should be more limited than training for more advanced students, as beginners generally do not have enough control over their strikes to effectively reduce their risk of injury.
11. Observe the people who come to the school.
Observe the students in the school and how they interact with each other and with more advanced students. Are they friendly and responsive? Are they respectful? Would you consider them friends? You will be spending some time with these people, so it is important to understand their personalities. You will also be putting your personal safety in their hands. If you don’t feel comfortable with this idea, keep looking.
12. Check the teacher’s qualifications.
Don’t worry so much about his or her degrees and certificates: there are no universal standards for teaching and no universally recognized association within the martial arts to standardize degrees. Here are the subtleties you really want to search for.
- Who taught this person?
- How long did he or she train?
- How long has he or she been practicing this martial art?
- Does this teacher have experience as a teacher or is he or she just a gifted practitioner? Just as great soccer players can become bad coaches (and vice versa), good martial artists are not necessarily good teachers.
- Be careful when inquiring with a school about teachers who tell you that their school is the best. There are many martial artists who are loyal to the art they practice and will talk negatively about other martial art forms. Be careful when this happens, they are probably not the best masters if they do not show respect to others.
13. Choose a school with class times that fit your schedule.
You will probably need a certain amount of time per week to train. Most martial arts have exercises you can do at home so you don’t forget the moves, because if you only train in class, your progress will be very slow.
Make sure you dedicate enough time to your classes and training at home. Remember that discipline is the foundation of martial arts. Don’t commit to a class unless you agree to it. Otherwise, you will not be able to keep up with the program.
14. Join the class and start training.
In general, it’s better to do it now than later. You have done your research. You have decided that a certain martial art form is better for you than another. You know what to expect. Have fun!