Martial arts is a great way to get fit and at the same time learn self-defense. It literally means the “arts of Mars” derived from the Roman god of war, Mars. Today there are many martial arts disciplines seen in celebrated sports programs like Ultimate Fighting Championship or UFC such as jiu-jitsu, judo, karate, tae kwon do, kickboxing, boxing, wrestling and many more.
If you are planning to learn and engage in any martial arts, either to strengthen your body or practice self-defense, here are steps to help you get started.
Determine your purpose
Why do you want to learn martial arts and what do you want to get out of it? Reasons can be summed up to four:
- Get in shape
- Lose weight
- Build confidence
All martial arts combine effective different body workouts such as strength training, cardio endurance, agility, and flexibility that help individuals achieve a level of confidence and get into top shape.
However, knowing the purpose will determine the level of commitment you have for the discipline. It will also help you find schools that are right for you at the same time coaches and trainers can easily set expectations for you.
Find your style
Each martial art teaches different techniques based on what the martial art style focuses on. For example, Tae Kwon Do focuses more on large kicks while Kendo focuses on mastering a particular weapon. Another aspect to consider when looking for the right style for you is body type.
Judo is great for short and squatty body type since it mostly concentrates on throwing techniques and less on punching and kicking. While a small physique would do well to study jiu-jitsu since the techniques focus on holds and ground attacks that aim to stop a bigger and stronger attacker. Tae Kwon Do, on the other hand, is best suited for tall and slender body types who are more attuned to executing fast high kicks all day long.
Choose a school
The best school will know your physical needs and your purpose for learning martial arts. Here are some guidelines to make choosing a school easier for you.
1. The school must have someone who can answer all your questions.
2. The instructors are trained and qualified to teach the martial art style.
3. The school has a trial class you can join before you sign up for the regular class.
4. The school observes proper supervision in order to facilitate a safe environment, especially for beginners.
5. The school facilities are kept clean and free from unsafe conditions.
6. The terms and conditions of the school’s contract are clear.
7. The school has a comfortable atmosphere.
8. The school is in your neighborhood or near your workplace.
9. The class schedules fit into your own schedule.
10. The payment plan is within your budget.
11. Other school facilities such as parking, shower, lockers, etc.
Despite knowing all this, it is still important to trust your instinct. If a school passes all these guidelines but doesn’t sit well with you for some reason, then feel free to skip it and find another.
Get your martial arts gear
Any martial art style requires one to invest in key pieces of gear. When cost is a huge factor for you in choosing a suitable style, then it is important to learn about gear requirements before you commit to a martial art class. A few martial arts supplies include uniforms, footwear, gloves, gear bags, shields, mouthpiece, mats and training weapons.
You can ask the school’s instructor what exactly you will need and how much it would cost you so you’ll know if you can afford it, on top of the school fees.
There are many martial art styles out there and it can be a bit overwhelming to choose which one is best for you. Just take a moment and really think about the reasons you want to invest your time, money and energy into martial arts. If you’re still not sure, there are a vast number of resources online to help you