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What is Martial Arts
What is this about
This article is designed to help people who are thinking of starting martial arts. It may help you decide which style is best for you, and what you want to get out of martial arts. But only you can decide what you want and what style you think is best.
First before we start I am not some expert in martial arts nor do I claim to have a great knowledge in any of the styles. But what I can do is give a general view of some of the main different types of martial art styles out there. This May or may not help someone who is thinking of starting martial arts.
About me - I have practiced karate & taekwondo but mainly shotokan karate as I found this style best suited me and what my body could perform. I fought in many a karate & taekwondo competition. I won many and also lost many. What I got out of martial arts is something that is very hard to describe and only someone who has practiced martial arts for a while would understand. It's not quite the same as any other sport because the feeling of self achievement is unmatched by any other sport and the confidants that a person can get from it is just not found in any other sport. Like I said you really won't understand it fully until you practise martial arts for a few years.
Choosing a Martial Art style
Your first step is to figure out what do you want from martial arts or why you want to join
Here is a list of the most common reasons
1 - Self defence : This would be the most common reason people would take up a martial art, and that is what it is all about. Plus you will find that once you start it will open the door to a whole lot more than just self defence. Just to mention one of the main things you will get is self confidence.
2 - Want to be like Bruce lee or the karate kid : You would be surprised at how many people join for this reason. But sadly you will find most of them disappear just as quickly as they joined. All it takes is a new Martial art film to be realised and all of a sudden up goes the attendants of martial art clubs. But don't get me wrong because out of all these new people there is always one that will stay on and end being a very good martial art person.
3 - Just to keep fit : Yes Martial arts is an excellent way to keep fit, because you will be using almost every mussel in your body. Plus no matter what age you are you will find that you can take everything at your own pace.
4 - Competition fighting : Almost all styles will have competition fighting from semi contact to full contact. If you are in Martial arts you don't have to enter into competition but it is good to do a few just to see can you perform any of the moves you have being though. Plus if competition fighting is you main aim than you should first decide if you want semi or full contact. Also have a look into what type of competitions are there for the style of martial art you choose. For example Taekwondo & Judo are the only two in the Olympics. But you will find most of them will have there own world championships.
5 - Competition kata : First for those who don't know what kata is. This is a number of predefined fight moves put into an routine. You than perform these in font of judges. Also just like the fighting. Kata competition will have world championships. Some people will do both Fighting & Kata others just do one or none. The choice is yours.
6 - You want to just beat the crap out of some : There is a few different meaning to this and why you would want to do this.
A - You are being bullied and want payback. Well Martial arts is for self defence but it can take a long time to learn and even learning does not mean you will be a good fighter. Look at it this way if you train for football seven days a week you will improve but only a few will ever be really any good. The same goes for martial arts just because you know all the moves it does not make you a lethal weapon. You will improve but will you improve enough is the question. If you are being bullied get it sorted now. If you are young or old go get help now from your parents - guardian - police. The bully is counting on you to keep you mouth shut and tell no one. Because the bully knows if you do tell he could end up in jail. So go sort it now than go join your martial art club. Once you do this you will find that more than likely you will never be bullied again for the rest of your life.
B - You are a bully and want to get better at it. So you are looking to improve your skills at pushing people away. The first thing you should know is most people in the martial art world can spot people like you coming a mile away. So if you find that you do join a club and that people are going in harder on you than others. Now you now why. Also it won't take long and you would be asked to leave the club. Not just because of the way you think you can bully people, but also for your own safety because there are plenty of people in the world of martial arts that can and would love to beat the daylights out of you and more than likely it would happen. But by all mean do join a club if you still want to. Maybe it might make you see sense, after all there is a reason why you like to fight and push people around maybe you just have been thought wrong at the start. But be prepared to change you attitude at the very first minute you join or you could be in for a rough ride.
C - You just seem to end up fighting with people and want to get better at it: Do you find yourself in a lot of fights than maybe martial arts is right for you. It can help you to control your fighting plus if you don't do something now you more than likely will only end up in jail very soon. Maybe a full contact martial art would suit you plus as you get better you can step it up and get paid to fight. So why not go get trained in something that you like to do. It may just be the smartest move you ever make.
Conclusion : Above are some of the main reasons people join martial arts maybe one of them describes you. But what ever the reason you will find it will be time well spent.
Do you think full contact should be in all martial art competitions
How to decide on a style for you
So how do you decide which is style is right for you. Now this is a tough one. Most people just end up going to the club that is closet to them. So if shotokan karate is the club nest to you that is what you end up in. There is nothing wrong with this as you will find a lot of styles are similar and one you master on it is easy to jump across onto another one. So maybe the best starting point is the club next to you.
But once you know what you want. Than maybe it is time to find the style that has all you want. Below are a few of the main points to look out for.
1 - Which style suits my physical body best : Example taekwondo has a lot of high kicking but some peoples body just cannot perform them. So what is the point in you doing Taekwondo. So remember look for something that suits you naturally.
2 - Type of Competition do you want full contact - semi contact - or maybe you prefer to be throwing people to the ground if this is the case than maybe Judo would suit you. If it is kata competition than again look at what type suit your body best. Because nothing looks worse than someone doing a very bad kata and if your body just can't do it maybe it is time to look at a different style.
Conclusion : Best think you can do is go and look at different styles, there training / kata & fighting. It doesn't matter what one you start out in just the one you end up in.
Also there is nothing stopping you from doing two different styles at the same time until you decide which one suits you best.
Martial arts weapons : There are many different type of weapons in martial arts but you will find a lot of clubs do not do any training with these. So some people learn these on there own or else join a style that does weapon training. But you will find once you can master the martial art style you are doing the weapons training will come easy to you
Strength your fist for fighting
Iron Fist Training : This is a form of training to strengthen your fist. Why do this you ask. Well there is no point in knowing all the moves if the first time you hit someone you break your knuckles. How you do this is with a Makiwara board and a sectional bag with different fillings in it. Remember it takes time to build up the strength in your fists so don't over do it at the start. So build up slowly the amount of time you use these items, and after a few months or more you will find a huge deferent's plus your punch power will more than likely increase
Iron Fist Training with a sectional Bag
Kata Competition : the best advise here is lots of training and listen to what others tell you. Practice moves in front of a mirror so you can see for yourself. Plus using a video camera to record yourself is one of the best ways to find your mistakes.
Fighting Competition : the best training here is to go into a lot of competitions at the start because you can learn more from one competition than ten training sessions. Also a good punch / kick bag is good and a kick target or other items will help you. I know some people will say you don't need all that gear but they will help. Just look at it this way by hitting a punch bag or other item is not going to make you worse but it might just give a bit more power and help you to land your kicks & punches on target.
Takwondo Training with a Punch Bag
Conclusion : If you do decide to take up martial arts. you will find the time you spend there will be well worth it. Plus remember there is no rush or panic in trying to get the black belt. You do it at your own pace. I know some people who took ten years before they went for the black belt, and it was not because they weren't good enough it was that belts just did not bother them. They done Martial arts for the joy of it not the belts.
Which style of Martial Arts Do Think Is Best
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