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People that Sign Up for Martial Arts

Hi friends,

I hope I don’t offend anyone here with these comments… but has anyone else noted that the people that attend martial art classes are often nerdy, socially awkward and often strange.

I have started my martial arts journey late, and have noticed this phenomenon. Saying that, lots of people probably think I’m a little weird as well.



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Introverts like me that don’t like team sports?


It’s propably hard to find any overarching trends across different combat sports. I did MMA for a few years and we had a good mixture of different types. That said, we also had the complete opposites of what you describe, people who just want to brawl without any regards to improving their technique or anything like that. Worst people to spar with, ever.

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I see…

I have started my martial arts journey


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1/3 nerds
1/3 I watch UFC brahs
1/3 washed up meathead grapplers/gym bros

Sad part is the top 1/3 are the ones who tend to stick around.


People tend to gravitate towards combat sports because they have a background in something similar or at least some sort of aggressive tendencies.

People tend to gravitate towards martial arts because they’re victims.

Sometimes you see bleedover between the two.


When I used to do kickboxing it was a mix of people, however I joined karate a few years back as my son was nervous and wanted me there and that was full of the nerdy types. I’m glad he doesn’t do it anymore as it took away from my Squat day :grin:

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“1/3 nerds
1/3 I watch UFC brahs
1/3 washed up meathead grapplers/gym bros”

I think I am a part of all three of the above.
Although I think you could add: people who have watched too many movies and want to be Batman.



My experience after two years of Kempo and two years of my son taking Shotokan.

It depends on the dojo. My son signed up and they called me a month later to see if he was better with attention and in school with respect to discipline. Lol. My kid was a fucking star in school, had no attention problems and no discipline problems. When I watched class, there were a lot of “special” kids in the class. I think martial arts attracts parents that want their kids to have discipline. I just wanted my son to get some exercise.

In my Kempo dojo, yes, a lot of fucked up people. It was a bit of a belt factory (I realize now), and some really weird cats there. One dude used to check if you were wearing a cup before you punched in. I told him if he ever touched me there again he’d have to buy me dinner.

But, there were also a lot of bad asses, legit.

I think BJJ might weed out the weridos, maybe @twojarslave can enlighten you on that aspect.

Most of the guys in my karate classes were nerds, Star Wars, MMA, etc… Nice people except for the random fuck that wants to kick you in the nuts.


Nope it definitely does not.

I’ve observed a pretty mixed bag. My first school was mostly guys like me. Normal working adults who liked to bang for fun. Hobbyists.

Once I started training with the people who were serious about bjj for fighting I crossed paths with a lot of unusual people.

Some I would call normal, balanced adults who are just into it as a hobby, for fitness and to learn the skill. Maybe 1/3 to 1/2.

The rest is a mix of people who train to compete and/or have some issues that they lean on bjj to get through. Recovering addicts, criminals, socially inept, queers, divorcées and otherwise damaged or broken people.

My instructor tells me if you want to meet some real martial arts weirdos, Aikido class is where you want to be.


@The_Myth For the record, my above post was speaking about people who actually stick around and train for more than a month or so.

If you count the people who don’t keep training for whatever reason, you’d get a lot more weirdos. My only real injury from bjj involved such a weirdo, who came to a few classes, bragged about his black belt in ninjitsu, raged out during every roll and managed to make my knee go pop during a drill. I guess his ninjitsu works.

To your earlier point, BJJ does manage to filter out people, both oddballs and regular folks alike, who aren’t interested in actually doing the training over time. I think that’s less about being a weirdo and more about BJJ being kinda difficult and most people don’t like doing difficult things. Still, I’ve noticed a few subsets of people within this group.

Some people seem to want a social media high-five, I guess for trying something as extreme as pajama wrestling. Well, all you need to do is show up to a class, have your buddy snap a picture of you drilling with a willing partner, then post the pic to social media to look like you’re tooling on someone. So badass! Check one off the bucket list I guess.

There’s the “traditional” martial artists, like you fucking Karate guys, who come to class sometimes. We had one guy like that for a while, who I liked because he was the only guy bigger than me, but he wouldn’t shut up about karate this and karate that instead of shutting up and learning jiu jitsu. I also occasionally train with a group of karate guys at a local karate school where my instructor occasionally guest teaches. Props to the instructor there, who is a decent grappler AND former local bouncer, for helping to round out his group of nerdy and really awkward weirdos.

How nerdy, weird and socially inept, you might ask? Well, to put it this way, my bi-weekly Dungeons and Dragons group would probably pull 300 percent more tail than the karate guys if you put both groups in a nightclub and told us we had to get laid. THREE HUNDRED PERCENT!

There’s also the “friends of people who train” group, which has overlap with the other group. After one somewhat rowdy night of bouncing, a few regulars talked to me about training because they thought it was cool how I spun that guy around and choked him until he let go of his drink and then put his ass on the ground.

Well, they actually showed up to class one time. Props for actually following through, but they didn’t last long. That’s pretty common, just like lifting really. Lots of guys say they want to do it, not many actually do. It’s quite common to meet friends of people who train, but see them only once or very infrequently afterwards.

Speaking of which, I’m making a note to myself to train when I get back from vacation. I took a new job, which has been great, but I’m drinking from the fire hose and putting in way too many hours while things get stabilized and also being lazy outside of work, so I haven’t trained in months.

I’m one of those guys now. Some weirdo who hasn’t been to class in a while.

Dawg I started martial arts to become a modern day ninja

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I always thought a black belt in karate was a bad ass, knew some secret ninja shit. Then when I went to Kempo I was surrounded by flat out nerds, all into Japanese swords and light sabres and shit. And, they weren’t bad ass at all.

There were a few cats that were legit, but it was kind of a belt factory. We did spar, and that was challenging, but anyone could opt out of sparring if they wanted to, so it was kind of like you get out what you put in.

I realized that a black belt was only as tough as his training, because that was the secret - training twice a week in combat.

I was less than a year away from getting my black, but it had lost its allure. It meant nothing to me in the context of the dojo. Stick around long enough and you get it. It really means nothing.

And there were those assholes, like the one that popped your knee, that were going to hurt you because they were clueless. The only time I ever got hurt was in a belt test when a blue belt kicked me in the nuts when I punched in for him. It’s always the lower belts that hurt you because they lack control.

And the whole tough guy mantra - we wore black gi’s above blue because “black doesn’t show the blood from training.”

What a joke. You were more likely to bleed from shaving than from training.

Anyway, still talking about going to BJJ, lol. I need to stop smoking first - I know, right.

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Getting a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and then taking boxing and Muay Thai classes taught me how little that belt meant.

And like, I got a LOT out of Tae Kwon Do; just not the ability to fight.

Anyone who comes through the door and after seeing a class decides to try it, is a weirdo. If by weirdo we mean not normal.

Who good BJJ schools weed out are those who are training only and always for themselves. Being a good training partner means you work with your partner, not against him. The better your training partners get, the better you’ll get. If you hurt people, no one will train with you and any school owner with half a brain will see you as bad for business and kick you out. So it’s not so much weeding out weirdos as it is weeding out assholes and douchebags who want to brag about sparring victories and hurting people.

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We were speaking more about the Star Wars nerd type of weirdo, not the asshole that tries to hurt when sparring type weirdo. Distinctly different animals IMO.

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I don’t think nerds are weirdos, they’re nerds.

With that said, BJJ probably has more nerdy and/or nonathletic types than other sports, combat (wrestling for example) or otherwise, and I think that might hold true for martial arts in general. With BJJ you can get very good while not being a great or even good athlete. And nerds love those inverted and berimbolo type positions and all of the other impractical stuff. Then again, there are athletes who are also nerds so who really knows?

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Athleticism is over rated in many instances.

I was a PGA golf pro, and legit, our measurement of your ability was this - if I toss you a golf ball from five feet away and you have the hand eye coordination to catch it, you can break ninety.

Embrace your dorkism.

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I when around two different fight gyms noticed as compared to regular gyms a higher rate of behavioural issues that had to result in an ejection. Basically some member has been told to leave, and several staff slowly surround them and try to get them out the door.

One place I was in first thing upon opening and I mentioned that there was a trail of blood coming from the change room.