After you have been in martial arts for a while, the reasons why you keep training tend to simplify. Whether the technique is good for self defence or not becomes irrelevant. Which style is better than the next is not so important. There is less struggle and the reason for training can be as simply because you enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy then why do it, it has to be fun. After 30 years in martial arts, I now enjoy training just for the love of learning and it keeps me in good shape.
Beginning Martial arts
Before starting martial arts training, you may want to consider a couple of things.Martial arts can be an incredible journey so before setting out, take time to check out what it is that you hope to gain and experience.
I believe one of the most important things to consider is, does a particular style or system suit my personality and my body type and my age. Every style has something to offer. But remember though, in martial arts there are no secret teachings that make you invincible or super human. To get good takes time and work.
Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGjOkNxqXhk for example, all really great moves and very acrobatic but really, there is a lot of time spent learning to look really fancy and this may be your thing, but it has no relevance for martial arts application. If you are spending valuable time and money on martial arts, you should at least learn how defend yourself against, and not spend time learning to kick someone that is 3 metres tall.
Its important to choose a style of martial arts that suits starts you at ground zero. What I mean by that is, it caters for all levels.
Martial Arts and Fitness
With so many things to do and so little time, it is ideal if the martial art can also be a really good conditioning work out. So it has a cardio and strength and conditioning component built into each session. When I say that it does not mean that the class is now a cross between a gym class/aerobics class and a martial arts lesson. I mean that the actual technical side is structured so you are learning the moves and getting fit and losing weight. So the best possible scenario is if you can let go of your gym membership or personal trainer because all the boxes are ticked in your martial arts work out. Having said that, the class must be structured so you can go at your own pace regardless of how fit you are.
Martial Arts and Competition.
Make sure you check whether the style is a competitive style. That is, the main focus is on entering and winning competitions. This is really important as the techniques that you learn could revolve around winning points in a game and may be irrelevant if you need to defend your self. This is ok if this is what you are looking for and with in most martial arts there is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition. Just got to keep it all in perspective though
Simple Martial Arts moves
Do the techniques look easy enough to learn. A great way to see whether the class is for you is to watch the beginners. How do they look? Are they picking it up easily or are they overwhelmed with information. So many styles think that more is better. I believe that less is better as long as the “less” is simple and effective. With so many martial arts to choose from and with out any real regulation there are many hybrids of hybrids that may appear okay but lack substance. In many cases there is no chain of progession from master to student. The instructor is taught via seminars or dvd’s or these day even “youtube”. There must be strong basics in martial arts that give a rock solid foundation. For example, next time you watch a class that has grappling, like Judo, Ju Jitsu or Aikido, see if balance is really being broken or is the student throwing themselves, making their fellow instructor look good. In http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2z_gV-d_Tg
You can see that balance has not been broken; the students are in no pain and a great way to tell if balance has been broken is to see if the heals are up off the ground before the student is thrown. This is no criticism of the instructor, he simply has not been taught correctly, but this is what I mean about basics. Is there an awareness of balance; physical, mental and emotional?
Is there a lot of wrestling. A biggie. You may or may not want to get up close and personal just yet, so check in with the instructor: How much close contact work is there?
Martial Arts and Sparring
A great way to test your level. But you don’t want to be at the back end of some black belt that has had a rough day. Are the sparring classes structured? Is it contact, if so how much?
The overall feel. How friendly are the instructors, do the students look happy, you get my drift.
The art of self defence
The real art in self defence is to learn to hit with out being hit, or to hit and take minimum damage yourself. Speaking of which, are the beginners being hit, or expecting to be hit? Martial arts cannot just be fighting. As the name implies, there must be an art to it. Art implies an element of grace and finesse and a strong sense of morality. The art is a long term journey that transcends well beyond the physical.