View Full Version : ...considering beginning MA training...

July 31, 2002, 12:49 PM
Okay, here's yet another shade of the eternal newb question.
I'm looking for some advice regarding martial arts training.

I've recently put myself on a radical alteration thing with regards to getting in shape. Radically changed food intake, hitting the gym 6 days a week, and it's really paying off. I've always had the desire to train in a martial art, and for some reason now I want to get serious about it. Not just as a complement to my current physical activities, but for the self-defense and spiritual/focus aspects as well.

To give you an idea of what we're dealing with.....I'm about 6'3", about 295lbs. Not in shape, but not out of shape...as I said I'm in the gym 6 times a week, cardio and weight training.

When in college I took a semester long Aikido course, and really enjoyed it. However, I think the sensei specifically tailored the course, since we mostly learned technique....none of the spiritual/philosophical stuff.

What I'm looking for....hrm.....not an easy thing to explain. Of course, I'm looking for a good grounding, something that will allow me to branch out into different styles/arts. I'm also looking for something that is challenging, that will need me to push myself to excel. I'm also looking for something physical. Not exactly in the sense of dishing out physical punishment....but I'm not looking for commercialized Tai Chi here either......one thing I'm interested in branching into at some point is weapons....

I found a school that's maybe five minutes away from my house:

A friend at work, however, pointed me towards a place where I could train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu:

Now, I fully realize that to be proficient in self defense it is best to study more than one art. I realize this, and fully intend to do so, but what would be best to start with? This above is what I've got so far.....are there any arts I should/should not be looking at, or if anyone is in the general area (NJ) do they know any schools/dojos to consider or not consider?

And I guess lastly, what do most people normally pay for MA classes?

July 31, 2002, 03:31 PM
I can't answer your martial arts questions, but congrats on the fitness!

Don Gwinn
July 31, 2002, 04:38 PM
1. Just so you know, six weeks ago, I was where you are now. You are on the right track. You will be happier yet six weeks from now if you keep this up.

2. If you're concerned with being physical and building attributes, BJJ is probably more suited to you than Aikido. They're going to teach you how to grapple on the ground for 10, 20, 30 minutes eventually, without running out of grass. Aikido has lots to teach but probably won't emphasize that. I settled on Tae Kwon Do, not because it was the ultimate martial art, but because I trusted my instructors, liked their teaching style, and liked the school. And like you, I wanted something physical that would be a bigger challenge. Be careful what you wish for, you just might puke all over the floor, but the physical challenge has been great.

3. Join somewhere. Where you join matters less than that you make a start now. Do something and you'll be happier later.

4. When you join, you'll probably think it's better to concentrate on one art at first. I know I do.

Good luck!

August 2, 2002, 01:09 PM
I just got back into martial arts studying Krav Maga, and it's been a pretty brutal workout each class. It is definitely whipping me into shape.

August 2, 2002, 03:21 PM
It sounds like you're looking for a more traditional school, rather than a boxing gym. If I was going to give you one piece of advice, it would be to look for that when you're visiting schools.

Before you join any school or style, be sure to visit first, watch a class or two, and see if you'll be comfortable there. A lot of places offer free introductions, take them up on the offer and then select your favorite.

As far as myself, I walked into a traditional Korean martial arts school about 6 years ago and joined for a 2 month trial period. I've stuck with it, and have had a lot of fun training, learning, and teaching martial arts, and have met some good people there. Definitely changed my life from a bored, lazy, shut-in geek to a sociable, very active geek!

Be sure to ask about weapons before you sign up. It was important to me, too, as I've been in schools where you don't learn any weapon until you're a black belt, and that takes years. The school I'm at now starts teaching weapons at the second belt, slowly, and then picks up more at higher ranks.

Also, find out about sparring, how they run it... different schools have different amounts of contact... going to work with a black eye is no fun, but some people prefer some contact over no contact at all. This is something you're probably going to want to see for yourself. It could also be a good indicator to the relative skill and energy level of your soon-to-be-fellow students.


August 2, 2002, 05:50 PM
I take traditional Ju Jitsu and love it, BJJ is just the last phase of traditional. You can check out my dojo's website at Reddragonjujitsu.com. It is for combat instead of tournement. Or at least that is how we train. We have a lot of police and military.