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Martial Arts Classes

I hear so much about martial arts on these forums… I have become interested in taking some classes or something. Besides the couple weeks I spent hitting a bag in my buddies garage… I know nothing about fighting. I’m 6’2", about 190… would you guys have any recommendations for what type of class I should look for? What is an average price you’d pay for a session? Thanks everyone.

Well a good start is to think about what you want to learn - what your primary objective is for martial arts.

I decided that when I had time for martial ats that I would learn a more "traditional" style so that I would learn the basics. So, I took up Karate (Ryobu-kai). And then I began training with someone who had black belts in Wing Chun and American Freestyle Association (begun by Joe Lewis and you have to be proficient in boxing, kickboxing, jujitsu - basically a really good MMA form). I found that I preferred the more "hybrid" style than karate.

I realized that I had preferred to learn/train in a "style" that was more geared towards combat fighting than something so strict and "static" as karate. But that's my opinion. And personal preference. If you were to ask your question in a room filled with martial artists from a variety of styles - your answer from them would be that their own styles would be best for you to try.

One thing to do is go to a variety of schools (dojo) and observe classes in action. I have to say that I'm lucky now, the kickboxing (w/contact - yeah, babee!) school where I became involved with last year, is being held on campus where I work. Also do check the credentials of the instructors. That's important and often overlooked.

Fighting? Well, a lot of martial artists on this forum will disagree, but in my opinion most dojos will not teach you how to fight. You will learn techniques, sparring, perhaps some history, and self control, but REAL fights look very different than what goes on in the dojo. What exactly is your goal? If you want an athletic endeavor that will improve the quality of your life, and yes, perhaps enable you to do a slightly better job of protecting yourself in a physical conflict, then traditional MA is the way to go. If you want to learn how to fight look into a military based “quick and dirty” system that is currently taught to Special Forces types.

Patricia is right. Find out what you want to get from taking MA. I know I’m gonna get some heat here. But I put the different styles in one of three categories: Traditional, Sport, Practical. What do you want?

It depends on what your goals are. Sounds like you want to learn how to fight. I would reccomend that you find a hybrid style, one that teaches standup, and ground fighting, preferably one with a strong Muy Thai/Wrestlling/Brazilian Jiu Jitsu background. One that teaches Jeet Kun Do concepts would also be a good choice but not entirely necessary.

I almost forgot, expect to pay 50-100 dollars a month. Don’t sign contracts that lock you in for a specific time, and don’t join any place that won’t let you watch a class.

There are many styles and all have their benefits. It all depends on your goals. Why do you want to learn about “fighting?”.
One word of caution, “If you see a lot of awards in the window, be extra careful.”

Also, another overlooked resource: the internet. You can certainly find out alot about what’s out there in the world of martial arts by doing some searchin’ on the web.

BTW: where you at? We're in Portland, Or. And we have here, alot of Tae Kwon Do. Also Marc Dacascus' dad has his school here (actually, in Beaverton), too. And you don't find much in the way of "full contact". Which is a bummer. I also supplemented my MA training with boxing. There's a school here called "Straight Blast" that teaches basically MMA (including jujitsu).

If you want to learn how to fight, I’ll tell you. Learn how to tie up quiclky. Now once grappling, stick your thumb through his eyeball until it pops. Don’t hold back. Or wrap up on him and bite his throat as hard as you possibly can until bloods start pulsing out and you hear gurgling, fight over. Grab fingers break, them. Never threaten or hold back. Never stop short. Maim and destroy. Most people hold back and don’t take the easy brutal exits.

There are several form of Martial Arts you can take, all of them differing in the bodyparts and muscle groups used. I myself am a black belt in Shi-To-Ru Karate, and have found it to be an all-around type of MA. Many people inexperienced in MA think of Karate as the “default form,” or they define MA as karate. This is a misconception. Karate is a form where both leg and arm techniques are well balanced. The art even includes weapons use.
Other forms, such as Tae-Kwon-Do and Judo focus on different areas. Tae-Kwon-Do is mainly leg techniques, while Judo involves numerous throwing and sweeping techniques.
Martial Arts is excellent for speed and balance development, and I have found the the stabilizer muscle workout is incredible as well. The difference in the gym is extremely noticeable.
Cost varies from form to form, and usually is based upon a monthly fee and a belt-advancement fee. Maybe around 100 a month including all lessons?
Look around and find a good one. Try a couple out by just asking if you could take a lesson or two if possible too.
It’s an awesome sport.

1st patty, what are you talking about.??? a black belt in what?? anyway -box and wrestle. thats it!!!

I agree with Patricia,you really cannot go wrong with thaibox and jiu-juitsu. Since you’re on this forum, I guess you know a thing or two about strength training. If you’re decently strong, and then add thaibox tehniques to it, you will end every fight very quickly.

I think you should consider Ko’s advice. A Muy tai/wrestling/bjj hybrid covers pretty much everything you will ever need. Muy tai is pretty much the top stand up game, wrestling is tops for take downs and bjj combined with wrestling is pretty much tops for grappling. But again, it depends on what your looking for. Good luck

while i’ve taken a few years of jujitsu and aboout half-a-year of kempo (sp?), i had to quit cuz of school and stuff…lately i’ve become really interested in restarting…but while i learned all the basics (how to punch properly, various kicks, attacks, counters, etc), the couple of “real fights” i’ve gotten into have pretty much resulted in me flying full force at my opponent and just trying to pound his head any way i can (usually just throwing wild, supersonic punches and hoping i connect)…since so many of you guys seem to know a lot about this, i’d love to hear what you consider the BEST form of martial arts whose training would translate into the real world. i live in nyc, but can also get out to long island (where the rents live) in case you have any specific dojo suggestions…thnks

Patricia was refering to JLAKS, the Joe Lewis American Karate System. Joe Lewis the kickboxer, not Joe Louis the boxer. Joe incorporates kickboxing, wrestling, and jiu jitsu into his style, along with Jeet Kun Do concepts, (Joe trained with Bruce, and is regarded as one of his top students, and one of the only ones who has proven JKD in the ring). It is a very good hybrid system covering all ranges including boxing and wrestling.

Hi, guys! This thread hits home. Let me explain:

For some time now, my primary goal has been aesthetic; and it still is. However, as I’ve gotten older, I have come to realize that there are some VERY important keys to longevity that can’t be overlooked. If we focus just on any one, then we most likely will sacrifice a life that is a long AND HEALTHY one. (Spending the last 30 years of one’s life immobile and/or bedridden would not be much of a life). Those keys appear to be:

1)Diet, diet, diet.

2)The maintenance of muscle mass and strength.


4)Mental focus and acuity.

5)Relaxation, Joy, Happiness, “Spiritual Enlightenment”, etc. (By the way; “Church” is NOT the way many people reach these goals).

The latter is VERY individual. The first four may vary in the WAYS we reach them, but eventual outcomes are relatively the same.

For the longest I’ve struggled with “How do I incorporate strength training?” “What about flexibility?” “What about mental focus?” Then I realized that they ALL can be incorporated in the right form of Martial Arts. Now…a little insight.

In the Chinese martial arts world, there are two broad “streams”: 1) The “hard” school (exemplified best by Shaolin Style Wushu (“wu” meaning the ART if fighting and “shu” is the SKILL of fighting) and 2) The “soft” school (exemplified best by Tai Chi). Shaolin Style Wushu (although not totally a correct term), is commonly known as “Kung Fu”. Am I right so far? Anyway…

The “Hollywood” guys (Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Et al) tend to have “mixed” styles (“Jeet Kune Do” in the case of Lee), and these mixed styles can only come about by having a LOAD of experience.(By the way; for you “purist” who stick your nose up at the people like Lee, Chan and Li; they can kick most people’s ass in a street fight and then some. Don’t let the “Hollywood” fool you).

So…based on MY research, I think I’ve chosen to go in the direction of the hard punching, fast kicking style of Shaolin Style Wushu (“KUNG FU”)coupled with the softer, stretching/internal strength style of Tai Chi (which the best practitioners recommend).

I’m not looking for awsome fighting skills, but for a good combination that will help me reach the goals I originally spoke of.

Any thoughts on the direction I would like to go?

As always, thanks! Mufasa

Screwtape,I know exactly what you mean.
Any martial art which uses your oponent’s strength could be very useful,aikido for example. There’s no doubt you could bring a man down by kicking him forcefuly on the side of the leg, but when the person is very large, sometimes all you can do is use his size and strength against him. Any form of thai box is excellent in real fight and I think that should be the base. Jiu jiutsu is usually thought of as “on-the-ground” skill, but many moves are done standing up, so bigger opponents should represent a problem.

Mufasa: as usual, you’ve posed a question that has me looking deep for an answer. I appreciate that! I’ll tackle this one a bit - cuz, Ko’s got the “black belts” in our household and a more thorough knowledge of martial arts than I.

Most of the reasons you used that brought you to the decision of incorporating MA training are the same as mine. But there's more -ain't there usually "more" ;-)

First of all, I found that MA training actually allowed me to maintain my muscle mass. I was in the best shape of my life from both MA and weight training.

And since MA training emphasizes the process of training - NOT the end result - it's a constant learning experience. You must be able to "empty your cup" whenever you are stepping into a MA session - be ready to adapt - and I joyously did on every training occasion.

MA training has, more so than any other athletic endeavor, improved my mental focus. While I was able to concentrate in the gym, the focus I developed through sparring and drills have helped me more and I was able to apply that improved focus in the gym and outside.

I had to re-think my weight training. To accomodate better with the MA training. Which I welcomed. I began to incorporate plyometric drills, explosive exercises, etc. into my training. I also began boxing - to help me develop better punching and offensive techniques.

My friend, there are so many types of MA "styles" out there - that it all boils down to what you want to do. There is no such thing as THE best style. But maybe a style that is best suited for combat or forms(kata if you're a Karateka) or just for the sake of learning something new. I have trained with many a black belt who rec'd their first black belt in one style and soon after started learning a new style. My first dojo had members that had a huge enthuisiasm for MA training in general NOT just Karate. They loved and respected the rich history of the martial arts. Many of the members "cross trained" in other styles.

Ooops, I'm rambling. Sorry. Hmmm, back to the point. Just remember that the style of training is nearly not as important as to the quality of commitment to that training. You have to be devoted when training in the martial arts. No matter what the style. I was training nearly 5-days a week - and man, it made a HUGE difference. That was 5-days of Karate, not including the boxing (1-2 days) and kickboxing (1-2 days) trainings. I was learning alot. I have a much stronger sense of satisfaction from MA than I do for weight training/bodybuilding. I have no doubt you are committed to quality and have a huge enthuisiasm to learn - so I believe that no matter what style you take up, you will take with you the best aspects.

BTW: Yeah, on Bruce, Jackie and Jet. What many people don't realize is that Bruce was a very well known in the martial arts world well before he began his television/movie career. When he was growing up in Hong Kong he participated in many "street fights". But he also introduced the idea of MA training with gloves, pads, etc - and not being so "defensive" but to be more "offensive". How could someone introduce a practical way of MA fighting/training than someone who actually had "fighting" experience? Bruce Lee was certainly well ahead of his time. And while I do love Jackie - I am much more of a fan of his "younger brother", Yuen Biao. This guy is AMAZING!!!! I could go on about this stuff. Mufasa, you've got our email addresses, while we can post certain "points" here on the forum, I can provide you a list of some good resources fo MA "stuff"!

For what you are looking for , I think that you made a good choice. I remember your earlier thread when you asked this question, and was wondering if you ever pursued it. Not to try and change your mind, but did you ever check out an Aikido school? Just curious. I think that you would find it interesting, and good schools are easy to find. The problem with kung fu schools is that it is so hard to find a good one. Most are pretty lame. You are in New York correct? It should not be a problem to find a good school there, in fact there is an actual Shoalin monk who now teaches there, I do not know where he is located though. I myself am not interested in that type of style right now, but at some point the body won’t allow me to get in there and mix it up, so eventually a style like Tai Chi or Aikido be part of my training, I have already studied Aikido, and that is probably the way that i will go, but for now it is not what I want. Good luck in your search.

I have only a couple of things to add as I think most people are right on the money re: your goals. 1) If you want any reasonable amount of effectiveness you need a martial art that trains full-contact. Judo, boxing, bjj, full contact karate (say seido kai-kan or kyokushin-kai) and muay thai etc all have full contact fighting. It may not be the same as a streetfight but at least you know you can do your techniques against a resisting opponent.

If your less worried about efficacy in your martial art then perhaps you shouldn’t be looking at a martial art at all (unless it’s tai-chi). Yoga is an excellent tool for both physical and spiritual development and has far fewer charlatans than you tend to find in martial arts.