Which Martial Art Is FOR ME PERSONALLY?

Posted by Hammer Graves on May 30th, 2021

hose of us old enough will remember trying to find a style club was almost impossible. Many clubs trained in backstreet gyms and halls, were often only a small group of friends. If you knew someone training already, it was easy to get in, if you didn't, well, it had been virtually impossible. Fast forward to the early 70's. It was at this time that the 'Bruce Lee Phenomenon' hit the West. Enter The Dragon, a major Hollywood backed film, hit the silver screens. It had been explosive, here was a guy who could do almost magical things, at blistering speeds, and so, as the result of that film, so was born the modern age of martial arts in the West. Clubs began to sprout everywhere, people flocked to learn so they could possibly be like Bruce Lee! The reality of this was somewhat harsher! Soon, may realised that to reach even a fraction of Lee's ability required years of painstaking practise! The first martial art to really explode due to Lee's film was Karate. With schools already more developed in the UK, they capitalised on the phenomenon by appearing out of the back streets and into the school and church halls etc. Adverts sprang up, and suddenly, you could find a club to train at! Karate is perhaps the most well known of all the fighting techinques, with a rich history and tradition spanning centuries. Therefore Karate clubs began to boom, along with other martial art styles, which started to gain interest from the Western culture suddenly smitten with the lure of Eastern mysticism and legends. Inevitably, this boom faded, people left since it was too hard, that to get anywhere was a lifelong commitment, not something achieved in just a matter of weeks or months, but years of hard graft. And so, clubs lost members, however, not to the extreme levels that they disappeared back into the dingy training halls of earlier years. Many thrived with a steady increase in students, losing others along the way, but retaining sufficient to keep going. Then, as with the Bruce Lee films, along came another Hollywood Blockbuster that was to push martial arts back to the general public domain...Karate Kid. The film was simple, a lad being picked on by way of a band of Karate school bullies, boy comes across a Japanese janitor, who just happens to be a master in Karate....Mr Myagi. It was a wonderfully simplistic film, where, I am certain we all remember, the young lad, 'Daniel san' was taught the rudimentaries of Karate through washing a car! 'Wax on, wax off'.....marvelously clever analogy, that he learnt everything he needed to do Karate! Of course, it is not that easy in reality, but here we'd a film, which spawned 2 sequels, that suddenly showed that training was not only hard work, but could possibly be fun as well! And, what this film did that no other film before it had done, it attracted Children to the martial arts! It was a classic catalyst in the meteoric rise of martial arts clubs across the world, with parents rushing to sign up their kids to learn about this wonderful way of caring for yourself, of learning respect and discipline, and making their children better people for when they finally enter the world as Adults. Karate was the main benefactor of the boom, obviously I assume given the film's title, but the knock on effects were felt right over the various style styles. Popularity rose through more films, with stars such as for example Jackie Chan, who, with his unique blend of undoubted skills and comedy, made Chinese martial arts seem fun to learn. And so there we have it, an extremely brief history of the rise in popularity...But! Here we have been in 2008, and despite all of the publicity, have you any idea which martial art is which? I hope the following offers you some guidance: Karate - Probably one probably the most recognised. There are several styles, which I won't elaborate an excessive amount of on here, suffice to state that each has it's differences, but each also offers a lot of the same characteristics, namely a concentrate on traditional etiquette, discipline and hard work. Karate (meaning Empty Hand) is a very traditional martial art, where you'll certainly learn respect for others. The primary styles are Shotokan, Wado Ryu, Goju Ryu, and Shitu Ryu, though there are always a great many more. Karate has also become just about the most 'bastardised' styles. There are a large number of schools and organisations whose Chief Instructors have studied a lot of the styles, and have combined this knowledge to develop their own systems. These Organisations have developed their own curriculums and grading syllabus. Essentially they are still Karate, and, with the proper club or organisation, become familiar with a great deal about yourself. Taekwondo (or Tae Kwon Do) - This is a Korean martial art, thousands of years old, but only really becoming popular before 20 or 30 years. The modern concept of Taekwondo originated by General Choi in Korea during the 1950's. Today, there are two styles, ITF (International Taekwondo Federation) and WTF (World Taekwondo Federation). Both teach the same basic ideals. Taekwondo (meaning the way of hand and foot) is, predominantly, a martial art based around kicking techniques. Very spectacular and effective techniques, but those learning Taekwondo will also learn valuable hand techniques, and self defense. ITF Taekwondo is much nearer to the original idea of General Choi. The WTF style is rolling out more right into a Sport, and is, in fact, a recognised Olympic Sport. ITF sparring is semi contact, whereas, if you fancy your chances, the WTF style specializes in full contact. Judo - Judo means 'The Gentle Way'. This is a very modern art, and, in fact, is not really a martial art, but an activity. Judo is, however, a very effective self defense art, teaching you how exactly to put locks and holds on an opponent, and how exactly to throw. There are no kicks or punches in Judo. A well established Olympic sport, it offers an alternative solution to more traditional 'combat' style martial arts. Kung Fu - A Chinese martial art. There are a huge selection of styles available, the most popular today being Wing Chun. Bruce Lee was a famous exponent of Kung Fu, but he also studied many of it's various styles and developed his own Jeet Kune DO (JKD), a way of fighting that used true to life street situations to develop a highly effective approach to attack and defense. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - This is actually the fastest growing style style nowadays. Japanese Judo and Ju Jitsu masters exported their martial arts to Brazil around the 1940's and 50's, where it quickly gained popularity. A Brazilian family, the Gracies, took this knowledge and developed it into one of the most effective ground fighting systems known today. Although similar to Judo and Ju Jitsu, the Brazilian art concentrates a lot more on getting your opponent right into a submission by locks, holds and chokes. It really is, to many, a more realistic method for the street, where rules do not exist. MMA - Not just a martial art therefore. MMA means 'Mixed Martial Arts'. It's origins are again Brazil, where it really is referred to as Vale Tudo. Today, MMA, or simply you would know it better as 'cage fighting' is really a huge sport, dominated by the UFC, Pride and Cage Rage. It has, for most, become an alternative solution to boxing. MMA is really a 'no holds barred' sport, whereby opponents can punch, kick, elbow, knee and wrestle one another into submission, or, get a knockout. Very explosive, and definitely not for the faint hearted! Those in MMA will have also trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, in addition to Karate, Taekwondo or other martial art style, hence the term Mixed Martial Arts. Kickboxing - Most likely the second largest participant club sport in the world. Developed by the Americans instead of Boxing, Kickboxing is, as the name suggests, a Boxing sport, nevertheless, you are also permitted to kick. Training is hard but rewarding. And also traditional boxing techniques (jabs, hooks, crosses, ducking and weaving etc), additionally, you will learn a variety of kicks, most of which are based on Taekwondo in style. Actually, many Taekwondo clubs will also run their own Kickboxing clubs, because the two styles compliment each other extremely well. Choi Kwang Do - Another Korean art, this concentrates mostly on the practical side of 'what works in reality'. Kicks, generally, are not above the waist, and you may learn a variety of hand techniques, all designed to work 'on the street'. Tai Chi - Another Chinese art. Often thought of as an 'old people's' style. Whilst it certainly lends itself well to the older generation, in my personal opinion, it should not be overlooked. It teaches meditation and relaxation, but additionally it teaches you to target your inner energy, or Chi, very effectively. In some ways, it is sad that, because of the modern age, additionally, there are some excellent, but increasingly forgotten martial arts worth investigating. Aikido and Hapkido (Japanese and Korean respectively) have become victims of the increase in popularity of the more explosive fighting techinques. These are predominantly self defense systems, but incredibly effective. In the event that you aren't sure, watch some of Steve Segal's early films. Segal is a world recognised master of Aikido, it really is one of the single most reliable martial arts for self-defense, but, sadly, it receives little publicity nowadays. It's principles are the teaching of using your opponents own momentum on your own gain, in addition, it teaches pressure points and restraints. Even when you study one of the more popular styles, Aikido or Hapkido are worth considering as another martial art. karate on zoom Today, choosing which martial art you want to do is actually much easier than you think. A great many clubs will offer you an initial lesson free, so take full advantage of that fact, and go and try as many as you can. In this way, you can find out which one suits you best. I will give a handful of words of caution!! 1. Do not be tempted to sign up to a membership or any payment anticipate your first lesson, as well as in the first 3 or 4 4 lessons. Make sure it is right for you first! 2. Avoid buying any uniform for exactly the same period. Otherwise, in the event that you decide it's not for you, you will have wasted your money. 3. Go along and watch a few classes first, before actually trying. Most clubs enables you to watch. You will get a different perspective on the class teachings this way. 4. Talk to other members, as well as the Instructors. Nobody will mind you asking questions. Contrary to popular belief, almost all clubs are not thinking about just taking your money and then see you leave. They want you longterm, because they genuinely want to educate you on and see you develop. There are, unfortunately, plenty of organisations out there who will happily take your money. The 'McDojo' as they are derogatorily referred to by our American friends are on the market, looking forward to the unsuspecting student or parent. These will try the hard sell, some even go cold canvassing onto the streets! You shouldn't be easily tempted by promises of a Black Belt in a couple weeks or months, it simply doesn't happen that way. So, how long does it take to get a Black Belt? Well, on average, you should allow at the least 3 years, which is based upon a lot of effort, and regular weekly training, at least twice a week! And remember also, a Black Belt will not mean you are a specialist! On the contrary, getting the Black Belt is merely akin to completing your apprenticeship of learning...As soon as you get your Black Belt, the real learning starts, it really is your doorway to a wealth of knowledge and experience that awaits you on the other hand. Too many people look at trying to grade every 3 months, which is fine. But, it isn't how quick you get your Black Belt that matters, it is EARNING your Black Belt that will make it most satisfying. Learning to defend yourself, among others, is only one aspect of Martial Arts, but FIGHTING TECHINQUES is not about learning violence. It really is, and remains, one of the effective methods of fitness in the World. It will teach you confidence, respect, both on your own and others, you will learn discipline and above all, you will learn how to become a respected and well rounded individual.

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Hammer Graves

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Hammer Graves
Joined: May 30th, 2021
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