One of the top questions throughout the martial art community is,
“How do I know which martial art to choose?”
As this is such a widespread conundrum to many, the CombativeCorner goes on the case!
[KUO]…A lot of people starting martial arts don’t know what they want. It makes sense for them to find out what is available in their area and do a little background research on the style and school. After that, it is time to visit the schools, talk to the instructors, and do some trial sessions or observe a class. In order to train an art, you have to have conditions which allow you to train. You have to mesh with the teacher, like what you are learning, and be able to get to class. When you find a combination of a teacher you like, a system you enjoy, and classes that fit in your schedule, then you’ve got a good candidate for your next martial arts class.
For the more advanced students who have a better sense of what they want out of their martial arts training, there are a couple of other useful criteria. Their teacher should have the depth of knowledge and teaching ability to progress them towards their goals. Finding a quality instructor is the most important part of truly learning an art. The next useful indicator is looking for students who are making progress and manifesting skill in their art. That is a sign of an effective instructor, well-run school/martial arts system, and raises the chances that you will have good training partners.
[KENNEDY] I suppose I would answer the question with a question….what do they want out of a martial art? If they are looking to compete, I would recommend a style like Muay Thai, Boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Sambo, Wrestling, etc. For fitness I would say boxing and muay thai. If they are looking for spiritual growth – I would recommend eastern styles, and for self-defense I would recommend anything from Krav Maga to of course HFM.
I think above all the most important thing is to find a quality coach/instructor to learn from. THAT is the most important.
[LEE] I agree with T.J. Though sometimes people do not know what they want b/c they have yet to know themselves. Yes we all wish to have quality instructors but unfortunately many cannot afford such instructors. Also quality instructors are hard to find. If an opportunity presents itself, I say do not miss it. If somebody is willing to start you on your Martial Art journey free of charge, I would grasp the opportunity. The primary instructor is life. As you see in Shaolin, much can be learned from animals, studying and observing an animal, you can learn much. There is beauty in every Art, I say visit schools of various arts or take a look at their websites and try the one that interests you the most, you can always switch schools as you learn more about yourself and what you really want out of the Martial Arts.
[VAUGHN] I’m going to jump on the band wagon here and say that it depends on what they are looking for in their training. If they are looking for strictly self defense I would direct them to a school that offers Krav Maga or a similar style. If they want the structure and discipline that a more traditional style offers I would suggest Karate or Tae Kwon Do.
If they aren’t sure what they are looking for or if they are trying to decide between to similar styles I would offer Freddie’s suggestion of visiting various schools and trying out some different styles to see which one fits both their physical abilities and their personality/mindset. It doesn’t take long to find if a particular styles and/or instructor is right for you.
[LARA] What are you looking for in a Martial Art? I echo all the points brought up our other teachers here as well.
My Main thing is once you have found your system or art you want to study. Is to visit a class and see if you see EGO or people working out hard and helping each other to get better. If you see Ego leave. Do not bother with it.
If you see people trying to learn and feel welcome then it may be the right class for you.
Talk to the teacher and talk to them about the goals they set for their students. Only by going in and talking to them are you going to know if that school and style is right for you. All the best to you that are just starting on the path.
[JOYCE] This is a question that I would have answered much differently 15-20 years ago. What appealed to me early-on was the style and movement performed by players of kungfu/wushu. But the older I get, the more importantly I feel about quality of instruction and finding something you can appreciate for a lifetime. I don’t watch many kungfu movies any more – their flavor has gone somewhat stale (with the exception of a few). Not to drift away from the question at hand… but in short – don’t spend your life searching. Find a teacher that you gel with and give it your complete attention! The martial arts is an ARTFORM- continue to mold yourself into an artisan of your chosen system. This is not to say that you’ll continue on the same path forever. Forever educate yourself and train with a playful seriousness and you will go far. With this..Keep your ego in opposite proportion to your skill and you’re likely to be great.