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Martial Arts
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UNTeMac
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Jan 19, 2007, 03:42 PM
 
I'm looking at starting some martial arts training as a way to relieve stress and get in better shape. Anybody have any advice for which discipline you've found most helpful (Judo, Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, etc)?
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MaxPower
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Jan 19, 2007, 03:54 PM
 
I would suggest going to several schools near you to familarize yourself with the different offerings. Martial Arts are as multiple and varied as religions, and most practitioners will consider theirs as being 'most helpful'
     
paul w
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Jan 19, 2007, 04:00 PM
 
I did Tae Kwan Do for years, loved it as it had me super limber, doing splits. Basically if you like kicking, it's the one to choose.
     
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Jan 19, 2007, 04:40 PM
 
If it's strictly for stress relief and to get in shape then I would pick something like Kung Fu or TKD since they use a wide variety of movements and are based on forms. Something like Judo or Aikido doesn't use forms and are much more efficient in their movements.

If you want something more useful you could go the Jeet Kune Do or Mixed Martial Art. They employ a lot of sparring and general conditioning.

I would like to find a REAL Tai Chi teacher but that's not gonna happen in my area.

If you really want something different there are "real" Ninjutsu teachers in your area.
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Jan 19, 2007, 04:40 PM
 
If you're looking for stress relief, try Tai Chi.
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Mrjinglesusa
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Jan 19, 2007, 04:51 PM
 
Jeet Kune Do. Bruce Lee was a bad ass. 'Nuff said.
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kc311v2
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Jan 19, 2007, 04:57 PM
 
If you're looking for a lot of physical activity, then something as simple as TKD or a National Karate school could do you no harm.

I quit at Red belt in my younger pre-teen years at National Karate, and I wish I didn't. It really helps boost your self-esteem and confidence about yourself.

I'm hoping in a few years I can resume training, but in a more orthodox tradition in Kung Fu (Shaolin Quan or similar) as I have a deep respect for the Buddhist culture.

Edit: Found a Wikipedia article on Shaolin Quan!

Shaolin kung fu - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
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Jan 19, 2007, 05:01 PM
 
The long and the short of it is that the variation between different schools is more important than the variation between different arts. All the arts will have kicking, punching, throws and weapons, just different combinations and permutations. But not all schools will have good instsructors and a constructive atmosphere. Especially at the beginning level, it doesn't really matter which art you choose. To find a good school, you just have to go around town and sit in on them until you see something you like.
     
kc311v2
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Jan 19, 2007, 05:13 PM
 
Agreed. ^^

And I hate to say this, but if you want an effective teacher, you need a hardass. They will really push you to limits you thought you could never reach.
     
olePigeon
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Jan 19, 2007, 05:27 PM
 
Tai Chi for stree relief. Or Yoga.
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olePigeon
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Jan 19, 2007, 05:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
The long and the short of it is that the variation between different schools is more important than the variation between different arts. All the arts will have kicking, punching, throws and weapons, just different combinations and permutations. But not all schools will have good instsructors and a constructive atmosphere. Especially at the beginning level, it doesn't really matter which art you choose. To find a good school, you just have to go around town and sit in on them until you see something you like.
For example, don't go to any Ernie Reyes or West Coast Karate unless you don't care about actually learning anything and just having fun. The place is for little kids so they can tell their friends they "know karate."

Ugh.
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UNTeMac  (op)
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Jan 19, 2007, 06:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by kc311v2 View Post
Agreed. ^^

And I hate to say this, but if you want an effective teacher, you need a hardass. They will really push you to limits you thought you could never reach.
Hardasses are my favorite kind of teacher.

Thanks to all for the advice. I'm not necessarily to doing this to learn how to fight but just to get in better shape and work out some stress. Dealing with kids all day long is simultaneously rewarding and tiring. Yoga may be a better choice but I've heard the learning curve on that is fairly steep. Plus the gym is 110° and everyone is farting around you.
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Jan 20, 2007, 03:54 AM
 
I did Wing Chun Kung Fu for years and loved it. JKD is heavily based on Wing Chun, which was the style Bruce Lee learnt before moving to the US.

As said above though, these things are dependent on getting a good teacher. I was lucky enough to have an excellent teacher who not only knew the whole Wing Chun system, but was also very advanced in Chi Kung. That's very good for stress relief too. We also had a T'ai Chi teacher at our school and I did a bit of that for a little while.

One tip I picked up for choosing a good T'ai Chi teacher is that they should start by teaching you the foot-work. The actual form should come later. For Kung Fu, yes, hardasses are good, but they need to be more than just a guy who can shout really loud.

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Millennium
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Jan 20, 2007, 09:39 AM
 
I started out with Tae Kwon Do, and I'll probably always have a soft spot for it. It has a strong emphasis on kicking, which is particularly good if you want to exercise your legs. A word of warning, however: TKD advocates claim that their art is the most popular in the world, and they're probably right, but there's a dark side to that: it has become one of the most commercialized in many places. If a place promises you a black belt in anything less than three years, look elsewhere.

I haven't personally done Tai Chi, but my wife has, and I've seen the results it has on her. The workout isn't going to be as intense as with many other martial arts, but make no mistake: it is still quite a workout. A warning for this art as well: in the modern US, it seems to have evolved into two forms: traditional Tai Chi, and what my wife's instructor refers to as "happy fluffy old people Tai Chi." Go with traditional Tai Chi if at all possible. One other thing: as actual martial arts go, Tai Chi is actually a lot nastier than many people give it credit for. If you find the idea of disrupting an opponent's brainstem more disturbing than breaking your opponent's arm, traditional Tai Chi is probably not the art for you.

I'll be honest: I tried Kung Fu and didn't really care for it. This was probably because of my background, however: TKD emphasizes kicks, and I like kicks, but Kung Fu actively discourages the use of kicks and many of the stances would be very hard to kick from. If you're starting fresh, without that background in kicking, you may like it more.

If you want stress relief, avoid Muay Thai. Those guys scare me.

Real Ninjutsu actually involves quite a bit more than what most people think of as "martial arts" (though there's plenty of that too). If you're going for a workout, it's going to be less consistent than some, simply because there's so much else to learn. On the other hand, some of the skills are really neat. Also keep in mind that real ninjutsu instructors are incredibly rare.

It's not commonly thought of as a martial art, but don't discount Western fencing, especially not the historical stuff. It's an impressive workout, and while it lacks much of the philosophy of Eastern martial arts, there's no denying that stabbing stuff is therapeutic. On the other hand, it's more expensive to get into than most Eastern martial arts, simply because there's more equipment to buy: most places will let you rent equipment for a little while but eventually you'll need at least a jacket, a mask, and whatever blade you plan to specialize in. I specialized in epee and then switched to historical rapier.

If you're looking to get into better shape, I would avoid judo or aikido (or their older counterparts, jujutsu and aikijutsu). Don't get me wrong; you can get a major workout from these. But these arts emphasize throws and inverse-kinematics, and having a lower center of gravity is a Good Thing for those types of techniques. You'll see a lot of big guys in these arts for that reason. One other warning: dropping a 300-pound guy on your leg isn't much fun. Trust me on this.
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Jan 20, 2007, 10:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by UNTeMac View Post
Hardasses are my favorite kind of teacher.

Thanks to all for the advice. I'm not necessarily to doing this to learn how to fight but just to get in better shape and work out some stress. Dealing with kids all day long is simultaneously rewarding and tiring. Yoga may be a better choice but I've heard the learning curve on that is fairly steep. Plus the gym is 110° and everyone is farting around you.

http://www.taichinetwork.org/list_result.cfm

P.S. It's nice to see someone who is interested in something more than fighting or being "cool".
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Jan 21, 2007, 10:53 PM
 
If you're in Florida, Georgia or Michigan, I suggest Choi Kwang Do. There are, unfortunately, few schools outside those three states.

I earned a 1st degree black belt about 4 years ago when I used to live in Royal Oak and Ann Arbor, MI. Its a very well thought-out martial art. Its very close to traditional Tae Kwan Do, but the moves and methods are redone to prevent locking any joint. Much safer on the joints in the long run, IMO.

I'm currently looking for a new art to learn, since there are no CKD schools where I currently live (Chester County, PA). Thinking about Kempo Karate, but a bit too showy for my taste.

Oh, if you're outside the US, there are a large number of CKD schools in Great Britain and Scotland.

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Jan 22, 2007, 12:47 AM
 
I started taking Thai boxing a few weeks ago for the same reasons that you stated. I feel better and better every day. From what I've read and experienced, it seems that Thai boxing (or Muay Thai, like Tony Jaa) is a very well-rounded martial art. It alone almost fills the definition of a mixed martial art.

There isn't much of any spiritual exercises that the instructor has taught me (I prefer it that way). In fact, the only spiritual thing we practice is to bow before entering and leaving the training mat area, as a sign of respect to the area.

Of course, as with anything, different instructors teach in different ways.
     
spice003
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Jan 22, 2007, 04:12 AM
 
yoga anyone ?
     
Gee4orce
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Jan 23, 2007, 10:56 AM
 
I'd also recommend the Chinese arts - Kung Fu - there are various forms based on different animals. I've tried a tiny bit of Kung Fu and found the form (a sequence or pattern of movements) to be very relaxing and flowing. Not at all aggressive and clashing, unlike most Japanese and Korean arts.

I trained for years in Wing Chun and I'm convinced it's the best form of self defence there is. It's also very flowing and emphasises relaxation, although in it's purest form it also has a large element of hard clashing and is, after all, a fighting art. It might not be what you're after if you're primarily looking for a relaxation system.

Yoga and Tai Chi are the main 'relaxation' arts - although both are surprisingly physically demanding when done properly. Pilates is a modern invention that's kind of like a 'moving, isometric Yoga'. I'd recommend any of these.

More important than what you do is who you do it with. Make sure you find a good teacher who you trust and can relate to. Don't stand for bullies and poseurs - a good martial artist soon learns that there is no place for ego in the Dojo.
     
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Jan 24, 2007, 08:44 AM
 
Once I finish my MBA, then I want to work towards a black belt in something also.

Damn MBA, ruining my life.

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Jan 24, 2007, 12:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mrjinglesusa View Post
Jeet Kune Do. Bruce Lee was a bad ass. 'Nuff said.
True but not many people teach it. If they do what do they teach? There are a couple of different "variations" of JKD that both sides consider "From Bruce Lee." Not Many Teach Jun Fan JKD which IS the one created by Bruce Lee and is still followed by a few. One of them Being Guru Dan Inosanto.
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olePigeon
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Jan 24, 2007, 01:08 PM
 
If you're looking for cardio vascular and strength training, Shotokan is awesome, too. Though, I don't even know if they're spread out past California and Hawai'i. You have a warmup routine with stretching, punching, kicking, and muscle toning; which can be amusing, like getting smacked with a shinai and having sensei run across your stomaches as you try to kiai. The expressions on the new members' faces when they whisper, "He's gonna do WHAT?!"

You then practice your katas in parts (which, depending on the kata, can lead to some very strenuous poses), then as a whole, then you partner and spar. Sensei does a one-on-one with you so you can master your kata.

You then do a "cool down" routine (which is actually more sets of punching, kicking, muscle toning, and the loudest kiai you can muster) followed by a quick 10 minute meditation. Somehow, somehow, sensei knew exactly who was falling asleep or not doing what they were supposed to be doing when we were meditating (he was facing away from us.) My guess is that he had a tiny mirror, but I dunno. Funny as hell when he'd call someone out, though.

If you're a weapons type of person, this not the martial arts for you. The only person I ever saw use a weapon was sensei, and it was a shinai. And that's it.

If you like competing in tournaments, it's a mixed bag. We only competed once a year as traditional Shotokan doesn't really compete. However, as members of the many martial arts associations (US, International, Teachers Assoc., etc.), we have to go to at least one where we demonstrate to other masters of various martial arts. You are given the opportunity to sign up for sparing. When we do, however, we kicked ass.

Just FYI- falling onto a bamboo floor hurts. A lot. But at the same time, it's funny as hell watching other people fall.
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Jan 24, 2007, 02:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by typoon View Post
True but not many people teach it. If they do what do they teach? There are a couple of different "variations" of JKD that both sides consider "From Bruce Lee." Not Many Teach Jun Fan JKD which IS the one created by Bruce Lee and is still followed by a few. One of them Being Guru Dan Inosanto.
I think you are a little confused.

Jun Fan Gung Fu is the name given to the martial art that Bruce Lee himself practiced. Some of his original students began teaching this as a way to preserve his art.

JKD ended up split in two. From Wikipedia:
•The Original (or Jun Fan) JKD branch, whose main proponents are Taky Kimura, James Lee, Jerry Poteet, and Ted Wong; these groups principally teach just what Bruce Lee taught, and encourage the student to further develop his or her abilities according to Bruce Lee's teachings .

•The JKD Concepts branch, whose main proponents are Dan Inosanto, and Larry Hartsell; these groups have continued to modify Jeet Kune Do, under the philosophy that it was never meant to be a static art but rather an ongoing evolution, and have incorporated elements from many other martial arts into the main fold of its teachings (most notably, grappling and Kali / Escrima material).
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Jan 24, 2007, 02:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by Millennium View Post
If you're looking to get into better shape, I would avoid judo or aikido (or their older counterparts, jujutsu and aikijutsu). Don't get me wrong; you can get a major workout from these. But these arts emphasize throws and inverse-kinematics, and having a lower center of gravity is a Good Thing for those types of techniques. You'll see a lot of big guys in these arts for that reason. One other warning: dropping a 300-pound guy on your leg isn't much fun. Trust me on this.
I'm not that big and I had no trouble with Aikido. I was actually in really good shape when I did Aikido and I found it really enjoyable.

Now I'm not in the same shape. Sitting around at a desk all day is not as good for you as martial arts and 50 mile hikes.
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