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Kestrel Grey

Can anyone suggest the best martial art for me?

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I took Kung Fu for a grand total of three months when I was a teenager, and loved every second of it.  My instructor would mix in intros to other martial art forms every once in a while, it was mostly not mat work, and it didn't feel as awkward and strength based as Karate.  Sadly I then moved away and never found a martial art that clicked again... does anyone have a recommendation? Something that will give the same high points?

There aren't any Kung Fu schools nearby that I could go to, but there seems to be a proliferation of others. 

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Without knowing too much about what you're looking for, I'll give it a shot... In my experience, the instructor can matter as much as the art, so be sure you have a good feeling about the instructors and their philosophy. If you're looking for something with the flow of Kung Fu, try Tai Chi. If that's too passive, I'd give Judo or Aikido a look. BJJ isn't *supposed* to be strength-focused, though it helps. Helio Gracie was a small dude, and practiced high-level BJJ into his 90's, and stressed technique above all else. If you can find a good, supportive academy, might want to consider that as well. 

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Though I guess I never really considered Tai Chi as a martial art. It seems more like yoga; good for your body and mind, but not supposed to have any potentially practical application.

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Most Tai Chi schools/instructors aren't practical-based but there is information and technique to be gleaned. Check Scott Rodell for more martially-oriented training.

I personally like Wing Chun or Silat for a good technique-based striking or self-defense art.

Unfortunately, as with so many things, the mediocre teachers and instructors far outnumber the good, but if all you want is forms, a bit of technique and mild conditioning most schools (or arts) will work for you.

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I started BJJ last week and am really enjoying it. The workout from an hour long class is pretty intense. I was sore everywhere and that's after consistent lifting for 3 months. I rolled with a friend of mine that is not as strong as me but is a blue belt and he was able to pwne everytime without using nearly asuch effort as I was. Skill seemed to be a bigger factor in the sport than strength. 

 

Most martial arts schools will offer an introductory  class, try a couple out and see what you enjoy.

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I agree with el Jefe - a lot of how a school feels depends on the instructor.  Not all karate schools are super tense/hard (even if they do tension exercises) and not all kungfu schools flow well.  It's been a while since I searched out a new school, but I always considered a) was it close enough or inexpensive enough I could go to class on a regular basis, b ) was it something I'd enjoy doing, if not quite an exact match, c) how did the students interact?  Was there hard work but obvious care for each other?  Was there a good level of respect in both directions between seniors and juniors?  The last is the most important criteria, but the other two play in.  You can tell the vibe of a particular group, and if it suits you or not.

 

it really is too bad that Tai Chi has morphed and been marketed as something yoga-like.  Originally it was a very well rounded fighting style, including weapons, control techniques (joint locks, pressure points), and general explosive power development (fajin - and if you've been on the receiving end from someone that can do it, you know you don't want to be hit in a serious way).  Most people only ever see the long form of one of the various styles, which are training tools - the slow movements are for learning.  Later forms can be much faster - I had learned a long form, and 2 person form, and was about to learn the next form, but my teacher moved out of state - and the next form was called canon-fist, and looked it, too. 

 

Oh- I also second the silat recommendation.  Depending on the particular school, you will find more or less influence of Chinese arts.

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I second the part about the schools. But then consider this:

Would you like to have feet work involved? As in kicks, spin kicks etc etc?

If no, it will be boxing, hapkido stuff like that? 

Weapons? Swords?
Kendo 

Japanese weapons and stuff?
Ninjutsu 

Fancy footwork less arm work?
Capoeira, Tae Kwon Do

Hardcore?
Kick boxing, Muay Thai


You get the idea :D

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Best for you?  Don't know you so can't really give a good answer.

 

What do want to gain from martial arts?

 

Self Protection, exercise, a sport,social interaction?

 

In my own opinion there are 3...Krav, Muay Thai and BJJ,  I just don't see any need for kata or skippy hoppy flim flam, again....my opinion.  I can say my flexibility when taking TSD was amazing, I could do full splits 

 

Ultimately you should tale something you like and enjoy...if you don't like the style, you'll probably not stick with it.

 

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On 6/6/2016 at 3:54 PM, Resqtech said:

In my own opinion there are 3...Krav, Muay Thai and BJJ,  I just don't see any need for kata or skippy hoppy flim flam, again....my opinion.... 

 

 

Where's that biting-my-tongue emoticon...

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On May 27, 2016 at 5:37 AM, Shakeel_R said:

Would you like to have feet work involved? As in kicks, spin kicks etc etc?

If no, it will be boxing, hapkido stuff like that? 

Weapons? Swords?
Kendo 

Japanese weapons and stuff?
Ninjutsu 

Fancy footwork less arm work?
Capoeira, Tae Kwon Do

Hardcore?
Kick boxing, Muay Thai

 

Expanding on that, each martial art has their own "thing," such as:

 

Tae Kwon Do: kicking

This is where you will hit stuff with your legs

 

Brazilian Kickboxing: KICKING

This is where you will hit stuff with your legs until the nerve endings have all died

 

Judo: grappling

This is where you'll be flipping people

 

Krav Maga: self defense

This is where you will learn the most effective way to survive a threat

 

Hapkido: (kinetic) energy

This is where you will use your opponent's momentum against them

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I just enrolled in a Tatsujin class. It is basically MMA (brazilian jiu jitsu, muay thai, etc) mixed with fitness for muscle development and strength. The work out is pretty intense and during your first day you will spend a lot on your cardio.

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On 6/10/2016 at 9:00 PM, Itsuko said:

 

 

Expanding on that, each martial art has their own "thing," such as:

 

Tae Kwon Do: kicking

This is where you will hit stuff with your legs

 

Brazilian Kickboxing: KICKING

This is where you will hit stuff with your legs until the nerve endings have all died

 

Judo: grappling

This is where you'll be flipping people

 

Krav Maga: self defense

This is where you will learn the most effective way to survive a threat

 

Hapkido: (kinetic) energy

This is where you will use your opponent's momentum against them

Hapkido: Lots of emphasis on Self defense via Kicks, Strikes, Throws, Joint locks/breaks, Momentum and balance shifts. Some emphasis on grappling, but very similar to the modern army combatives in that one area, Little to no emphasis on forms.

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On 6/6/2016 at 0:54 PM, Resqtech said:

In my own opinion there are 3...Krav, Muay Thai and BJJ,  I just don't see any need for kata or skippy hoppy flim flam, again....my opinion.  I can say my flexibility when taking TSD was amazing, I could do full splits

so.... skippy hoppy flim flam?  Sigh....  If you're doing any kind of per-arranged patterns or drills, you're doing kata.  That's all they are - patterns and drill work to learn and develop the proper mechanics and body usage for a particular art.  For example, as I understand it talking with people who have trained in it - learning Krav is heavily dependent on what I'd call kata.  Repeating the same drills over and over and over until you knew them in your bones and your reactions become spontaneous.  That's old-school kata training right there, with some bag work and sparring thrown in to round it out.  

 

There are a number of schools that have lost sight of this, and don't get me started on some things you see in tournaments, but in good schools, kata have specific, practical use.   Then again, this argument is as old as the hills, so do what you like, but please don't denigrate a term that's at the core of a lot of arts. 

 

@Charlotte S  Did you have any success finding a class or group to train with? 

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19 minutes ago, ChrisWithaStick said:

so.... skippy hoppy flim flam?  Sigh....  If you're doing any kind of per-arranged patterns or drills, you're doing kata.  That's all they are - patterns and drill work to learn and develop the proper mechanics and body usage for a particular art.  For example, as I understand it talking with people who have trained in it - learning Krav is heavily dependent on what I'd call kata.  Repeating the same drills over and over and over until you knew them in your bones and your reactions become spontaneous.  That's old-school kata training right there, with some bag work and sparring thrown in to round it out.  

 

There are a number of schools that have lost sight of this, and don't get me started on some things you see in tournaments, but in good schools, kata have specific, practical use.   Then again, this argument is as old as the hills, so do what you like, but please don't denigrate a term that's at the core of a lot of arts. 

 

@Charlotte S  Did you have any success finding a class or group to train with? 

I found a Systema school about an hour away that looks worth trying.  It looks interesting.  I'm not sure it will end up being a style that works for me, but I am definitely going to give it a go.

Their current new student schedule doesn't work for me but it looks like it changes every few months, so I am waiting on the next round.

 

Does anyone have experience with Systema? Any feedback?

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56 minutes ago, Charlotte S said:

I found a Systema school about an hour away that looks worth trying.  It looks interesting.  I'm not sure it will end up being a style that works for me, but I am definitely going to give it a go.

Their current new student schedule doesn't work for me but it looks like it changes every few months, so I am waiting on the next round.

 

Does anyone have experience with Systema? Any feedback?

Even if you can't start the schedule now, maybe see if you can drop in to observe a class?  It would let you know if you want to wait or keep looking. 

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I've tried Systema before, though only at a seminar. The training is in some way very different than a lot of the East Asian martial arts I've done, but I was really impressed and quite enjoyed it. It's not everyone's cup of tea and from what I understand the instructional quality varies widely (though to be fair that's true for all martial arts). If done well it's cool and very intuitive though :)
I'd also agree that it might be nice to go observe a class now if you can, that way you get some idea if you like it or not and don't have to wonder about it until the schedule changes.

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weigh the benefit of the system against the ability to get there.  If the best place is an hour away, how easy is it to do regularly?  If there is something comparable that's closer, and maybe do seminars at the distant place, might be a good option.  Or if you're lucky and it's got more than one branch, then that's an option too.  Tho I don't know if I'd recommend Tiger Schulman - seems more of a belt factory than anything else.

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Though I guess I never really considered Tai Chi as a martial art. It seems more like yoga; good for your body and mind, but not supposed to have any potentially practical application.

Taijiquan aka T'ai Chi Ch'uan is indeed a martial art with multiple styles that can vary from being very explosive and martial (Chen) to slow and formal (Yang Long Form, Beijing simplified) and everything in between (Sun, Wu, Wu Hau, several Yang variants). Rather than training technique first (if opponent does x do y), Taiji trains movement and efficient power generation first, which is then translated into technique later. Also, once you have become competent at doing the form slowly practicing at varied speeds is encouraged.

It is a shame that many taiji classes don't last long enough to get to martial application but it is there.

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Hi! New Monk here, but I have some experience with martial arts so here are my 2 cents.

Since you don't mention which Kung Fu discipline you were following and your instructor was mixing in elements from other MAs, I'm only going to assume that what clicked with you in KF was the multifaceted training - grapples, strikes, escaping etc. If I'm wrong, correct me and I'll try to offer additional info. For the time being, what would be compatible with this aspect of KF is a martial art that too includes various different sets of techniques and a demanding fitness program. My first, biased as it is, suggestion would be trying Taekwondo's ITF (International Taekwondo Federation) school, also called 'Traditional Taekwondo'. There are other associations, but I've only trained in ITF and some WTF so I won't elaborate into that. Taekwondo ITF, in contrast to the other prominent association, WTF (which is the style you see in the Olympics) is less sports-oriented and more focused on real-life self-defense techniques. Both federations share a common baseline, but ITF includes both kicks, hand strikes (punches, chops, elbows etc.) and access to so-called 'higher techniques'. To sum it all up, you're going to learn how to spar, defend yourself in both realistic and staged situations - forms alienate a lot of people, but they are actually common scenarios that will burn the moves in your muscle memory- and a few grappling techniques. Of course, it all depends on the specific school and what you choose to learn; few teachers will force their students to spar if they don't want to and you should stay away from those. As for the workout aspect, you will gain mostly functional strength and extreme flexibility, and depending on the school, you might also do some bone strength conditioning drills (that's how TKD practicioners are able to break bricks with their bare hands!)

Since the only other MA I've trained is kickboxing (which, in a few words, is a heavily sparring-oriented version of TKD without the forms), other MAs I can loosely suggest are Krav Maga (pure yet brutal self defense and a HELL of a workout!), Hapkido (I've heard from a friend that they are a hybrid of TKD/Aikido and that they practice both striking and grappling) and if you are for it, MMA (Kung Fu is a form of MMA, kind of).

I hope I've been of help! If you have any questions, ask away! 

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Hope you had a good time with Systema. (hope I ge to do that sometime, too)

 

Considering the ones you mentioned, there was Aikido.

 

From my experience, aikido is great for stretching, balance, perception, breathing exercises, reducing stress and health. There are unarmed and armed techniques ( knife, stick, sword ), a lot of falling and rolling. Basically, it is a defensive grappling martial art with a traditional Japanese feel to it. There are a few different branches of aikido, but basically they all come from the same source. To see how it looks like, look it up on google ( for instance, sensei Christian Tissier has some impresive demonstrations ) and to see it in movies, check out old Stephen Segal movies, or this awesome film by the name of "Bunraku" .

 

Good luck !

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          On ‎6‎/‎19‎/‎2016 at 6:35 PM, Charlotte S said:

I found a Systema school about an hour away that looks worth trying.  It looks interesting.  I'm not sure it will end up being a style that works for me, but I am definitely going to give it a go.

Their current new student schedule doesn't work for me but it looks like it changes every few months, so I am waiting on the next round.

 

Does anyone have experience with Systema? Any feedback?

Even if you can't start the schedule now, maybe see if you can drop in to observe a class?  It would let you know if you want to wait or keep looking. 

 

I was going to suggest Systema if you were interested in one that was more defensive in orientation. 

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