3 Questions To Ask Yourself before choosing a martial arts school that is right for you!
I was involved with Shorin ryu Karate way back when I was nineteen. Back in those days life was easy, I was thin, good looking and did not have a care in the world. Then life happened, as life often does, and before I knew it I was 32, married with two kids, working a desk job, and weighing in at a hefty 230 lbs. For a guy who only stands 5”8 that’s not good.
Martial arts was never far from my mind. I always had an interest, always kept an ear to the track, but I was getting too old, too out of shape. I told myself I’d lose weight, made a deal with myself that at 200 lbs I’d join back up. Then one day a man named Charles Reed made me realize that day would never come unless I took that first step; and so I did.
Getting back to martial arts after such a long time I knew I had a lot to think about. What sort of art did I want to train in? Was I going simply for fitness or did I want to be able to defend myself as well? What were my limits? These were all good questions, but they weren’t the only questions on my mind. I also had to consider where I wanted to go and the people I would be trained under and training with. In the end there was only one answer for me. I now train at a school that offers street concept self defense as well as traditional arts and MMA training. I work with people that have become a second family, and as such my entire immediate family, my wife and both kids, decided to join with me.
Now maybe you’re thinking about starting martial arts. Maybe you’ve considered stepping into that Tae Kwon Do school on the corner and signing up; well before you do there are a few things you should ask yourself.
First Question You Need To Ask Yourself
Is this the art form for you? What do you want to take away from martial arts? Are you interested in it as a sport? Do you want to look good, or is there some big guy bullying you in the parking lot at work? Also take a few minutes to read about this particular art. If you’re not into taking your opponent to the ground then Jiu-Jitsu probably isn’t the way to go no matter how close that gym is.
Does the instructor know their stuff? I’ve interviewed my fair share of martial art teachers over the years and in that time I’ve met a few that were in the game for all the wrong reasons. Ask how they got started, find out where their passion lies. If the guy running the place is trying to pump out MMA fighters but you have no interest in stepping in the cage, then chances are good you’ll wind up leaving the gym with your opinion of martial arts unfairly tainted.
This one is often overlooked but just as important. Know the type of people that attend the gym. These are your peers, and you will likely be spending a lot of time with them doing things that require trust, discipline, and patience. Make sure these are the types of folks you enjoy spending three or four nights a week with and make sure they’re the type of people who know when to pull a punch. There are a lot of different types at my gym. Some are great sparring partners, whom I trust to give good advice and to help drive my training forward, but there are a few that I have learned I am just not compatible with. That’s not to say they’re bad people, but rather we have different goals. Before you dive into training make sure there are like minded people or you’re likely wasting time and money.
So there you go. Martial arts offers numerous benefits but there are also pitfalls. If you plan ahead and do a little research I guarantee your experience will be a rewarding and fulfilling one.
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