T Nation

Martial Arts


Ok, apologise for this being a pretty vague thread. I just read all the way through the Chad Waterbury MMA strength thread just now. In reference to the tangent it went off at, I kind of understood some of it but not all.

I was kind of thinking to doing some sort of martial art, mainly for something to do and also to burn a few more calories. Whilst I was at school I did Shotokan for 5 years and later on in the mid 90's did it for another 5 years. I started off with the very rigid teaching of the KUGB and went on to a federation that applied more application and sparring etc.

Anyway, I understand the limitations of karate, particularly watching all these vids of Karate guys fighting BJJ and stuff. I don't consider myself a hardass, I don't get into fights and stuff but I want so input as the best route to follow.

There is a video on the Chad thread where some BJJ guy basically takes the Karate guy to the floor. I understand lots of fights end up rolling about on the floor like this. How useful (maybe this is a dumb questions I dunno) would it have been for that Karate guy who got pinned by that BJJ (for those that saw the vid on Bushido site) if he was a competent bodybuilder, or are we talking about a system (BJJ) where technique would have defeated any strength stuff.

Surely if you are very strong then and it comes to grappling, strength and size is an advantage over technique or not ???

I basically think I won't bother going and doing Shotokan again and wonder what sort of stuff is good for alround usefullness. I'm not particularly flexible and think stuff like kick boxing might be not for me.

Appreciate the help, apologise or long post.


I'd recommend judo, I think you're perfect for it. It's a japanese martial art, so expect a lot of boring bullshit- but there's also some really good stuff in there. Get 'best judo'(the book). It's a grappling art, so you're going to be manhandled. Enjoy it. You don't need flexibility for judo, you need good work ethics and a strong back. That's what I think anyway.


I'd recommend Hapkido or Hankido if you can find it. Throws from Judo, kicks from TKD, joint locks, submission, ground fighting, dirty tricks (eye gouges, throat strikes, etc). I feel like it's a more sophisticated eastern version of Krav Maga.
From what I've seen, Judo is a little one dimensional. However, I'm a little biased. I did folkstyle/collegiate wrestling for five years and so some of Judo's basic ground drills are redundant for me.

About your question concerning strength, fighting is really about explosivity and reaction time. A lot of the stronger, more explosive fighters (think Fedor) can break out of many of the submissions simply because they recognize the move coming and rip out of it. A big strong guy who has no idea what he's doing will get dominated by a relatively good BJJ guy, but a big strong guy who is fairly intelligent and knows how to defend against submissions will give smaller and better BJJ guys a lot of trouble.

Good luck.


Like I just said, I'd go for judo. You don't want to be doing any of that complicated hapkido joint lock shit. It depends, obviously, on what you can find locally. If the guys in the judo gym look like a bunch of pansies, then avoid it. Explore.


First of all, I think you need to look at strength differently.

What if I asked you which is more important on a car, the tires or the engine?

What would you say?

See my point?

It's not only all good, but it's really all essential if you are talking about defending yourself in a street confrontation. You need strength, speed, skill the whole package! How many skinny, weak 130 pound guys start street fights?

Answer: Not many.

The street thug who attacks you is probably going to be bigger than you. Did you ever notice that as a rule big strong guys don't usually get singled out for being bullied?

Most bullys really don't want a challenge. Some street thugs do...but most would rather have an easy night, it's just human nature.

Keep lifting and trying to up your numbers in the big lifts. Especially the Deadlift, Squat and the Overhead Press. And there are others.

In the mean time understand that if you are afraid to get hit in the face you are probably not going to be able to defend yourself very well against a tough guy. That means you need to go to a place that allows you to take a shot at least now and then , if not semi-regularly.

That's why I like Boxing. When you are boxing someone is really trying to punch you in the face and that's a good thing. Okay...it doesn't sound like a good thing huh? :slight_smile:

But, trust me it's a good thing if you are really trying to prepare yourself for a street confrontation.

I also like any grappling art as most confrontations have some sort of grappling component. Of course the Hollywood version of a street fight may not have it...but then again that's all bull. Just like the myth of the indestructable Black Belt is a lot of hooey.

If you're smart you will skip ALL of the traditional martial arts schools. They turn out Black Belts the way McDonalds turns out hamburgers. And quite honestly the quality is just about as good!

Sure there are some good ma schools out there, but it's much easier and better in the long run to do the boxing and grappling thing. Especially in light of the fact that you said you are not interested in kicking. You can get very very lethal with just your two fists and some very good grappling ability.

Good Luck,



Shotokan is a good martial art if the class is brutal. Find somewhere that scares the hell out of you and join it. For example; no faggy kids or women just looking to tone-up. Judo is good if the instructor is competent, as are all martial arts. Kyokoshinkai (sp) is also a real hardcore style of karate.

It also comes down to yourself, if you are an animal, martial art style wont matter.


Isn't Judo a sort of sport version of Ju-Jitsu ?


Ok I already have the 1st dan in Shotokan, which involved kata, combinations and kumite, but like I said I'm no hardass. My bro in law did Shukokai and Aikido and he used to leather me in mess about fights.

Initially I trained with the KUGB and with a guy called Terry O'Neill who was Arnold's double on some scenes in predator, also he's been in dramas and a few films too. Then trained with the ESA which ha loads more application (think its called bunkai?). That was much better, but its ages ago, couldn't do most of the kicks and stuff.


I can do kicks pertaining to the shotokan ones just not very well, certainly don't do any Van damme stuff or really want to as I realise its theatrical more than anything.

Grappling seems to be the most useful, is there grappling and punching in one style ?


Yes. If you can find BJJ locally, then take it. The first thing I noticed about martial arts is that the 'sport' versions tend to be full of fewer assholes than the 'traditional ones'. The reason being that they actually compete.

There is grappling and punching in loads of styles- but not all of them actually grapple and punch. If you can find an MMA class then do it. Certain styles are practically a guarantee of quality- these include;
Kyokyushinkai karate
Brazilian ju jitsu
Muay thai
The list is by no means inclusive. I'll be frank with you- the world of martial arts is mired in shit. Most classes you walk into will be populated by assholes, chancers and dickheads. The only way is to visit all the classes you can find locally and decide where you fit in best.

Not that there isn't good stuff out there. I recently found a muay thai gym in Carmarthen- martial arts isn't my 'thing' any more. But good luck anyway.