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martial arts 'dojo' experience."
The Best Martial Art
Our top tips for
choosing the best martial art for you
There are a lot of martial arts out there, including Aikido,
Karate, Judo, Kung Fu and Taekwondo to name only a few. Here, we’ll give you
our top tips for finding the best martial art for you and a few things you need
to think about before you start training in the martial arts, something that
could easily develop into a lifelong study. Many martial arts or individual
martial arts clubs like to promote themselves as being ‘the best’, but before
you can define what the best martial art is for you, it’s important to
define what you want from a martial art. Some people just want an
interesting way to keep fit, some a means of self-defence, others want a route
to self-development and some people want to compete. Ultimately, it will all
come down to which martial art you will enjoy most and, therefore, which one
you’ll continue to train in, come rain or shine, week after week, year after
year. There are literally hundreds of martial arts and martial art styles, so
only a few are mentioned here as examples – it’s not a comprehensive list!
Who invented my
Chinese martial arts, Japanese martial arts, Korean martial
arts, Brazilian, Israeli, Indian, the list goes on. Except if you have a
particular wish to work within or to learn about a particular culture as part
of your martial arts training, it probably matters little to most people where
their chosen martial art originates from. In the end, there are only a certain
number of ways in which an attacker’s body can be hit or twisted effectively;
this was once demonstrated by Tomita Sensei at an Aikido course in Preston,
when he showed a picture of a carving in a book about ancient Greece of a
‘wrestling’ technique, where the handgrip is identical to the Sankyo technique of
Aikido (The Pancrastinae).
What happens in my
However, what you actually get to do in your chosen martial
art will be much more important. Obviously, we like the throwing and
immobilisation techniques of Aikido with its non-aggressive, non-competitive
approach and the concept of redirecting an attacker's force. At the crudest level, although all these martial arts have a lot more to them, if you like the idea of punching / hitting /
kicking, then arts like Karate, Taekwondo and Kung Fu will attract you, and
don’t forget to check out Boxing too. If you’re highly competitive and you like
to fight and win, then you’ll want to get involved in competitions, so Karate,
Taekwondo, Boxing, Judo, MMA and Muay Thai might be for you. Then there are the
grappling arts, like Judo, Jiu Jitsu, Sumo and Wrestling. That’s not to say
that any of these definitions are mutually exclusive, so there are non-competitive
forms of Judo, there are Karate styles that contain throws and immobilisations,
there’s even a competitive form of Aikido, called Tomiki Aikido after its founder.
A lot of what is taught in any martial art is a reflection of the specific
interests and skills of the teacher in the specific club that you attend and of
the organisation of which they are a member, so your choice will often just be
dictated by what is available near you.
So, enough of the
intro, here’s our top tips on choosing the best martial art for you:
Decide what YOU want from a
martial art, and make sure the martial art, club and instructor you are
thinking about offer it.
Check out the background of the
senior instructor: Who were they taught by? How many years have they been
training and teaching? Do they have recognised qualifications to teach? Do they
still train and attend courses to keep improving their skills? Don’t be
impressed by a flashy grade or title that has little basis in reality.
Find out about the classes
available and whether they will fit in with your work, social and home
commitments, so you can commit to training regularly.
Find out about costs. There are
some martial arts schools run by professional instructors that are more
interested in your money and getting you to pay for your next grading than in
training you (there are also many very good professional teachers – it’s all
down to your research).
Check that the martial arts club
you are thinking about lets you watch a session and/or try training for free
before you have to hand over money – never feel pressured into signing up
before you’re sure it’s what you want.
Make sure you feel welcome when
you first attend to either watch or try your first session. Will you enjoy
training regularly at your chosen martial arts club?
Before or after the training
session, talk to the teachers and some of the students. Find out what they have
to say and what the overall atmosphere in the martial arts club is like.
Is safety emphasised throughout
the training at your first session – your own and anyone you train with?
Are you taught as an individual at
your first session with specific attention to what you are capable of and how
you learn, or are you just thrown in at the deep end and expected to get on
with it somehow?
Turn up, train hard, have fun!
If you think Aikido might be the martial art for you and you
would like to experience what training at White Oak Aikido is like, you’re
always welcome to come and watch or join in for a free taster session on any
Thursday or Sunday at the YMCA in West Reading, or on Tuesday in Caversham – we
look forward to seeing you.
Martial arts in
Reading – find out if Aikido is the right martial art for you
For more information
about training in the Japanese martial art of Aikido in Reading, Berkshire, please contact us