Choosing a Martial Art
I've considered taking up a martial art, but always have trouble choosing one out of the multitude.
I took a Tai Chi class at the local com college, but didn't end up finishing out the semester (schedule conflict). It was Chen style if memory serves. I really enjoyed the warm up exercises (chi wash, silk reeling, something else I don't remember the name of but I think it involved clouds lol) but the actual form seemed more like a formality than really useful. We had a guest come in and show us the Yang style the one day, didn't like that at all.
I did Karate as a child, can't remember which style it was. Made it 3 belts in before my 8 year old attention span moved on to other things (namely Nintendo). I remember really liking it though, the kata's were interesting and the instructor was very welcoming.
So, I'm older now, I can focus on something for more than "10 minutes," and really want to put my all in it. I would like to find one that can be done alone (thus, one that doesn't focus on throws or something else requiring a partner to practice). I live in a decent size city so I'm sure finding an instructor wouldn't be too difficult, just need to decide what kind to seek out. What do you all suggest I try?
Go towards Brazilian JiuJitsu!
There are a lot of martial arts paths to choose. I chose mine for several reasons, i connected with the instructors, the art form was appealing and so on. I suggest you ask yourself why you want to study. Are you looking for self defense? Exercise? Do you want to do what you see in the movies, if so what style are they doing? Each style has a different philosophy and you need to find one that matches yours otherwise you will have trouble sticking with it.
Any thoughts about Tae Kwon Do? I'm looking for a martial art for myself and my family (husband and 2 girls) and am thinking about starting this summer.
I like Tae Kwon Do. Kids really seem to like it. Most instructors will put emphasis on kicks and jumps with the kids and they tend to like that. It is good exercise and fun for a family.
I like Krav Maga because it is simple, efficient and brutal. You learn how to respond quickly and viciously with minimal technique, which makes me feel like I'm in touch with my inner animal. You also get a great workout in the warmups and the stress drills.
Originally Posted by MichaelA
I did muay thai for two years and I LOVE it. Left it for monetary reasons, my girlfriend got me a month's membership to a Brazilian jiu jitsu gym and now I'm deciding if I want to go back to muay thai or pursue BJJ further, after only a month in which I only was able to go to class once a week. So I did maybe 5 classes worth of BJJ and I learned so many REAL functional self defense/offense that I feel like i *need* to learn more. Leverage is an amazing thing, rolling (sparring) with the bigger guys and still being able to flip them over while fending off their attacks was insanely fun. It's a great workout too, you will lean out if that's your goal, and definitely increase strength all around. My abs were always screaming after a good roll.
Back to muay thai though, striking really speaks to me so I will always love it. I love boxing, so I feel like I'm going to naturally gravitate towards an MMA style approach to martial arts, where I can combine what I know from Muay Thai with what I hope to learn from BJJ.
You have to ask yourself WHY you want to do martial arts. Do you want to be able to effectively defend yourself from an attacker? I would say BJJ is superior to muay thai (the best boxer in the world can be nullified the second you take him to the ground) If you're looking for an intense cardio workout I would probably choose a striking art (muay thai, boxing, tae kwon do, kickboxing) this is NOT to say that bjj isn't a good workout, because it is, but it feels very different, it's a different type of "tired"...
Oops, just saw you'd rather do something you can practice alone, bjj requires a partner for everything, muay thai does not. Keep your goals in mind, ask yourself why or what your goals are, then research accordingly.
Hope that helps.
Agree on BJJ and muay thai.
I also love Wing Chun, and highly recommend it. Partners during class training are important, but it definitely lends itself to practicing alone.
Tae Kwon Do is a good sport martial art, but not something I would ever recommend to people as a very good self defense.
Thanks for all of the responses! My reasons for studying would include exercise and personal focus... that's one of the things I liked so much about Tai Chi. I guess I do just need to do some research into their philosphy... never really thought of it that way before. thanks!
I spent alot of my life doing martial arty stuff.
Best advice I ever heard on the subject of self-defense came from one of the top taiji teachers in the world right now "You want self defense? Get a big dog, or a gun." Rickson Gracie once said in an interview I read "Self defense? My Sig-Saur is for self defense, get real."
I loves me some Chinese Internal Martial Arts. Bagua is a personal favorite, but one has to be realistic.
You want self defense? Learn to Shoot.
You want amazing conditioning? Try Boxing.
You like competition, and testing your skills against others? Try Fencing.
You want to develop your concentration, and mental faculties? Try Chess.
All of my friends who've done BJJ have quit, or complain like they're 90 year old arthritic grandmas. (Seriously I don't know anyone who still does it that doesn't complain of being "old".)
All of my friends who do various stripes of Kung Fu (Taiji, Bagua, Wing Chun, Pak Mei etc.) are freakin' weirdos. I mean seriously strange.... deranged in some cases.
Everyone I know involved in ninjutsu, kali/escrima/arnis, tactical combat commando whatever are dangerous felons, best avoided at all costs.
From what you've described darienx, you might like some schools of Taiji, especially ones that taught Qi Gong, and other health cultivation exercises.
Good luck to you sir!
A good rule of thumb that served me well, is to study with teachers who I clicked with rather than at schools where I liked the "style" but didn't feel like I connected with the teacher as much. (I liked the philosophy behind Aikido, but never found the right school for me to learn it at.)
Have a great time.