Finding a Martial Arts School

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Thread: Finding a Martial Arts School

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array mercop's Avatar
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    Finding a Martial Arts School


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    Member Array lprmcnit's Avatar
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    Good, article, I'd emphasize several points
    1) it take continual work to keep up martial arts skills
    2) the simple, basic techniques are usually the ones used in a confrontation. Drill them over-and-over-and-over and.....
    3)it's good to find or have a training partner.
    4) avoid instructors that feel a need to brutalize their students, unfortunately, their are too many of them out there.
    5) take notes at each class session and keep a notebook. That way in 6 months or 5 years you can review the techniques or principles taught in a class.
    6) check out things at the training facility like mats, bathrooms, locker rooms etc.

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    Distinguished Member Array alachner's Avatar
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    I am a Shodan (black belt) in Karate Kyokushin , which is one of the toughest Martial Arts (striking techniques) in the World, so I have plenty of experience in this subject. The first thing that someone needs to decide is what the article mentions: decide if you want personal development, tournament fighting or self-defense. Therefore, if you want personal development I would recommend Jiu-Jitsu, Aikido, Jeet Kune Do, Kung Fu or Ninjitsu. If you wish to participate in tournament fighting, I would recommend Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). If you wish to learn self-defense techniques I only recommend one: Krav Maga.

    Practicing a Martial Arts system takes years, dedication, discipline and commitment so in order to use the techniques learned you need a lot of training. If you wish to learn a self-defense system, you can learn them with Krav Maga and within a year or so you can already hone your skills to use them in a self-defense situation.
    "If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. That's ridiculous... If I have a gun, what in the hell do I have to be paranoid for?" [Clint Smith - Thunder Ranch]

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    Distinguished Member Array MinistrMalic's Avatar
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    The challenge here that I see is that the article is obviously intended as a recruiting tool. "My self-defense approach is best, so come train with me!" That's all well and good, but there are serious limitations to his approach as well. Obviously if someone is interested in martial arts they are looking for personal development, specifically in the area of defensive ability. Secondly, if someone is looking for tournament results THAT is the person looking for a hobby IMO, though with the right mindset tournaments can be great opportunities to gauge your ability to defend yourself at lifelike speed against a determined attacker. Finally, if self-defense is the goal then OF COURSE that will take time to build. Honestly, who here in their right mind would tell someone to buy a firearm, load it with the most expensive bullets they can find, put it on their hip and go about their life? No one! We would tell them to train with that firearm, to gain proficiency with it and repetition in the function of it. Without training the weapon is virtually worthless.

    I honestly don't understand in the slightest the aversion some people have to training, ESPECIALLY training in martial arts. I carry a .45 with me everywhere I go, specifically to put large holes in someone who means to harm me or my loved ones. I also carry a fighting knife weak side, just in case my strong side is unavailable I will have something as a force multiplier. I have also been studying martial arts for 4 1/2 years. Why? Because many, many self-defense scenarios will NOT justify the use of deadly force but nevertheless may require physical force. Many scenarios will not allow an immediate draw and fire; they require significant unarmed skills to allow the time and freedom to get to any firearm I may be carrying.

    My motto: "Kimber from 12' out, Kenpo from 12' in." (I study American Kenpo, with some significant jiu jitsu training as well) I train with my EDC regularly, and not just from a stationary position at a piece of paper. I train with my EDC knife to be able to use it effectively. And I train without man-made weapons (the definition of karate: "empty handed") for the instance of not having them. It takes all of that to be a well-rounded martial artist. And I say that not as some mall ninja or gi master, as I am still working on my brown belt in Kenpo.
    "...whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one." (Luke 22:36)
    Christianity and Self Defense from a Biblical Perspective

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    Senior Member Array mercop's Avatar
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    Sorry you saw it as a recruiting tool. I think everyone should do what best for them. - George

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    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    There are some excellent comments in this thread. Very high signal-to-noise ratio. I especially like what Alachner and MinistrMalic have to say.

    To add a bit to their remarks, it's important if you're looking for self-defense skills to seek out instructors who focus on the practical. My school of kung-fu is very stripped down and trains heavily in the most-likely and most-common situations. Like krav maga, we assume you'll be starting from a bad spot - the BGs do tend to arrange things to their advantage, so you'll probably have bad environment and maybe be dealing with a sucker punch from square one, or they'll have the drop on you.

    If you're just starting out, then krav, American kenpo, boxing, or traditional Okinawan karate are all strong choices for getting up to speed quickly. Later, when you have some basic striking and defense skills under your belt, you can look to add a grappling art with joint locks, or some other kind of soft style to complement your hard technique, for a rounded-out personal system that suits your build and fighting philosophy. As time goes by and you age and mature, your style will have to make adjustments to accord with that, so it's a life-long journey that has no destination but the road itself.

    On school selection, be prepared to visit many before deciding. The right place will have a positive, focused atmosphere. The wrong ones tend to feel like the "Cobra-Kai" school in The Karate Kid. In my experience, you'll know if the school is right or wrong within a minute of walking through the door.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

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    Distinguished Member Array Jason Storm's Avatar
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    I started w/ Muay Thai/JKD/Jujistu/wrestling/FMA in the beginning just to create a basic foundation. Also got exposed to law enforcement defensive tactics too. Nowadays, I have branched out to reality based self-defense and combatives. Whenever there is a seminar coming around dealing with that in my area, I take advantage of the opportunity. Did some on Krav Maga and W. "Hock" Hochheim's Close Quarter Combatives. And even though I don't currently train with them but plan on training with them someday, I have also integrated some techniques from Kelly McCann's "Situational Combatives" as well as Sammy Franco's "Contemporary Fighting Arts". Again, there is no ultimate system but each one has something beneficial to offer. Never stagnate and do continue to evolve/refine in your techiniques, whether it be armed or unarmed self-defense. Use what works best for you and toss out the unessential/complicated techiniques.

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    Distinguished Member Array AutoFan's Avatar
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    Those don't even touch some of my favorite rules for finding a Martial Arts school (developed over 30 years of drifting in and out of the Martial Arts). My focus is first finding someone who is sane and reasonable, then a style I know or like or would like to learn.

    Rule 1: Is the class taught in a foreign language, especially if the instructor(s) are not of that nationality? Some things may not translate well, or actually be shorter than in English, but generally, if I wanted to learn to count in a foreign language, I'd be taking language courses.

    Rule 2: Are long term contracts required or so strongly pushed you feel uncomfortable? Do you have to purchase specific uniforms and equipment to start? I want an instructor who is more interested in having me as a student than what money they can get out of me.

    Rule 3: Is there excessive mysticism or spiritual teaching? I already have a set of beliefs, and I'm not really interested in joining a religion. I've never seen anything demonstrated in a MA that could not be explained by technique and science.

    Rule 4: Do the instructors take into account students' limitations? This has come more into my considerations as I've gotten older and have more joints go south on me.

    Rule 5: Are the sparring rules realistic? One of my pet peeves is most of the current TKD schools don't allow punching to the head. This discourages how fights really usually happen, and encourages kicking to the head, which many students don't have the control to perform safely, even with headgear.

    Rule 6: Are the Self Defense counters realistic? I was at one recently that had a counter to a gun being held on you that I think would most likely get you shot.

    I had one experience recently that did not fall into any of the above rules, but I'll put up here anyway. It was a reasonable priced school, flexible days/hours, a good workout and the contract was on the long side, but not unreasonable. The students and instructors were very enthusiastic, they had a "self improvement" talk at the end of each class (even for the advanced/black belt classes) and had a bow out routine that had 3 sections and was flashier than the Power Rangers show my kid used to watch. It just made me uncomfortable, like I had joined some kind of cult. I'm still checking out MA schools in the area.
    Last edited by AutoFan; November 2nd, 2010 at 04:34 PM. Reason: grammar

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    Quote Originally Posted by mercop View Post
    Sorry you saw it as a recruiting tool. I think everyone should do what best for them. - George
    George,

    You must know that you can't advertise here without being a paid sponsor.
    If you understand, things are just as they are... If you do not understand, things are just as they are....
    - Zen Saying

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutoFan View Post
    Those don't even touch some of my favorite rules for finding a Martial Arts school (developed over 30 years of drifting in and out of the Martial Arts). My focus is first finding someone who is sane and reasonable, then a style I know or like or would like to learn.

    Rule 1: Is the class taught in a foreign language, especially if the instructor(s) are not of that nationality? Some things may not translate well, or actually be shorter than in English, but generally, if I wanted to learn to count in a foreign language, I'd be taking language courses.

    Rule 2: Are long term contracts required or so strongly pushed you feel uncomfortable? Do you have to purchase specific uniforms and equipment to start? I want an instructor who is more interested in having me as a student than what money they can get out of me.

    Rule 3: Is there excessive mysticism or spiritual teaching? I already have a set of beliefs, and I'm not really interested in joining a religion. I've never seen anything demonstrated in a MA that could not be explained by technique and science.

    Rule 4: Do the instructors take into account students' limitations? This has come more into my considerations as I've gotten older and have more joints go south on me.

    Rule 5: Are the sparring rules realistic? One of my pet peeves is most of the current TKD schools don't allow punching to the head. This discourages how fights really usually happen, and encourages kicking to the head, which many students don't have the control to perform safely, even with headgear.

    Rule 6: Are the Self Defense counters realistic? I was at one recently that had a counter to a gun being held on you that I think would most likely get you shot.

    I had one experience recently that did not fall into any of the above rules, but I'll put up here anyway. It was a reasonable priced school, flexible days/hours, a good workout and the contract was on the long side, but not unreasonable. The students and instructors were very enthusiastic, they had a "self improvement" talk at the end of each class (even for the advanced/black belt classes) and had a bow out routine that had 3 sections and was flashier than the Power Rangers show my kid used to watch. It just made me uncomfortable, like I had joined some kind of cult. I'm still checking out MA schools in the area.
    Very practical and down to earth. Excellent post!
    If you understand, things are just as they are... If you do not understand, things are just as they are....
    - Zen Saying

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array ctsketch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutoFan View Post
    Those don't even touch some of my favorite rules for finding a Martial Arts school (developed over 30 years of drifting in and out of the Martial Arts). My focus is first finding someone who is sane and reasonable, then a style I know or like or would like to learn.

    Rule 1: Is the class taught in a foreign language, especially if the instructor(s) are not of that nationality? Some things may not translate well, or actually be shorter than in English, but generally, if I wanted to learn to count in a foreign language, I'd be taking language courses.

    Rule 2: Are long term contracts required or so strongly pushed you feel uncomfortable? Do you have to purchase specific uniforms and equipment to start? I want an instructor who is more interested in having me as a student than what money they can get out of me.

    Rule 3: Is there excessive mysticism or spiritual teaching? I already have a set of beliefs, and I'm not really interested in joining a religion. I've never seen anything demonstrated in a MA that could not be explained by technique and science.

    Rule 4: Do the instructors take into account students' limitations? This has come more into my considerations as I've gotten older and have more joints go south on me.

    Rule 5: Are the sparring rules realistic? One of my pet peeves is most of the current TKD schools don't allow punching to the head. This discourages how fights really usually happen, and encourages kicking to the head, which many students don't have the control to perform safely, even with headgear.

    Rule 6: Are the Self Defense counters realistic? I was at one recently that had a counter to a gun being held on you that I think would most likely get you shot.

    I had one experience recently that did not fall into any of the above rules, but I'll put up here anyway. It was a reasonable priced school, flexible days/hours, a good workout and the contract was on the long side, but not unreasonable. The students and instructors were very enthusiastic, they had a "self improvement" talk at the end of each class (even for the advanced/black belt classes) and had a bow out routine that had 3 sections and was flashier than the Power Rangers show my kid used to watch. It just made me uncomfortable, like I had joined some kind of cult. I'm still checking out MA schools in the area.
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