Recommend A Martial Art

Right now I'm a huge (amateur and natty) gym junkie, but I also recognize that less is more when it comes to working out in the gym. I get in there, 30-45 mins max, and get out. It's working great for making physical progress, but it's frustrating me quite a lot.


 


I'm a college student who studies online from home (allows me to access American degrees while living in South Africa), and it means I need more stuff to keep myself busy - hence my presence on the Bulletproof forums.


 


I've been considering taking up a martial art for a while now, because I feel it fits my personality of enjoying rigorous training as well as plenty of discipline and practice. 


 


Right now I'm looking at taking up Shaolin Kung Fu at a local school called the International Kim Loong Wushu Centre (http://www.kimloong.org) where they have classes for:


- Shaolin Quan


- Sanda


- Tai Chi Quan


- Wing Chun Quan


- Gi Qong


 


I'm looking at starting with Shaolin and perhaps supplementing with additional Tai Chi or Qi Gong classes for the greater focus on meditation and intrinsic energy.


 


Does anyone have any opposing recommendations? 


Or any experience with these mentioned styles and how they benefited you?


Comments

  • katolotuskatolotus ✭✭✭

    I would suggest a more practical, physical art. Any reasons for listing those, or just the closest/easiest.


     


    What you looking to achieve from you TMA training?


    Katolotus

    MMA Fighter

     

    SUCCESS: A lot of little things done well

  • edited July 2013

    Haha I was expecting you would be one of the first to comment :)


     


    My reasoning for not going for something like MMA or kickboxing (I have a few friends who do it so could easily join them) is because I don't really like the competitive nature - it is very much sport martial arts focused. I get too competitive and just find it added unnecessary stress.


     


    I'm looking for something that is more classical martial arts focused, such as Shaolin. Of course it is still very much weapons-based with plenty of offensive/conflict focus, but I feel that it is only a small aspect of what Shaolin really is about.


     


    I really like the concept of Shaolin/Kung Fu being very much a lifestyle/culture and teaching things such as intrinsic energy, inner peace, healing, discipline, and so on. I feel that it is a very very different concept to what we know in most modern societies and it has a LOT to teach that will perhaps give me a completely different perspective on life.


  • tuishou (push hands), you can do this at a lot of tai chi/qi gong, training places.


     


    "natty gym junkie", I've never really understood this distinction. I think it is just a spectrum, based largely on cultural perception.


    Reigning Former Inner Balance "Mad Monk" Champion... :-P 

  • katolotuskatolotus ✭✭✭

    I did Aikido for a few years. That's enjoyable and a bit more zen than MMA ;-)


    Katolotus

    MMA Fighter

     

    SUCCESS: A lot of little things done well

  • i'm a capoeira angola instructor so that is of course what i think is the most awesome. i can go on and on all day about why if you want me to, but sounds like you kind of have an idea of what you're looking for...i hesitate to throw capoeira in the "martial arts" category sometimes anyways. 


     


    lots of respect for aikido as well, i've never done it but one of my students teaches it and i think it seems pretty solid. 


  • katolotuskatolotus ✭✭✭
    edited July 2013

    ^^^^^^^^^^


     


    Now that's an option!


    Katolotus

    MMA Fighter

     

    SUCCESS: A lot of little things done well

  • HazakinsHazakins Graveyard shift putting me in the Grave!

    I want nothing more than to move to where there is BJJ. I really miss wrestling from High school. Never even tried.


    Trying to get a grasp on Ketosis? Watch this!

  • if you want to learn more about capoeira angola just follow the link in my signature. there are some good video clips and essays on there.  ...not sure what you'd find where you live though...there's a lot of variety from group to group. i feel really fortunate to have found a particularly awesome teacher in a particularly awesome lineage, even though i am geographically in the middle of nowhere as far as capoeira is concerned. i'd say a lot of capoeira out there these days is likely to not be that bulletproof and take a harsh toll on your body. i feel like the stuff i've been doing is pretty sustainable, and amazing in every way to be honest. 


  • StevoStevo Upgrade in Progress

    It depends what kind of skills you want to learn as well as the old traditions.


     


    If you want to do throwing and grappling, go for Judo. If you want to do kicking and punching, Taekwondo is good (better than Karate IMO).


    If you want to learn weapons too, maybe Kung fu is the way to go. There are plenty of different arts, most of them have the old traditions attached.


     


    Some other styles and off shoots like boxing, Sambo or BJJ are more about plain old fighting.


  • I know what you mean about competitiveness - I have a similar problem...start off with a recreational hobby then get addicted to the sport and want to smash everyone.


     


    I would third aikido - i know a few guys who have done it. Even though I have not taken a class those guys had some killer joint locks.


  • I have 3 years MMA training experience, and I would definitely recommended No Gi Jiu jitsu, preferable a 10th Planet system, but I highly doubt 10th planet is near you.... it is a lot of technique, and closer to chess than a brute force competitive sport. I am not really into the energy stuff of martial arts, but if you want to avoid the competitive nature of martial arts and want to learn an effective practical martial art, i'd suggest Krav Maga, it is basically a combination of the most brutal martial arts, it was designed by the Israeli special forces and is highly effective at ending fights quickly. Its not sport fighting, its more like the opponent will be in the hospital fighting. So sparring is a lot more slow and friendly, and you just practice drills. The only competitive part would probably be who can learn more. 

    *Note: I have never trained Krav Maga, this is just my understanding of it.


    Never Stop Moving: Progress in some aspect of your life everyday, move forward in it, whether it be your job, school, body, mind, or relationships. Constantly better yourself!

  • katolotuskatolotus ✭✭✭

    I'd recommend BJJ, but it certainly gets competitive with sparring at the end of each class. So maybe not for you.


    Katolotus

    MMA Fighter

     

    SUCCESS: A lot of little things done well

  • Thanks for all of the input so far folks, I appreciate it. I think Katolotus is right when he mentioned earlier that it sounds like I already have a pretty good idea of what I want. Because I do, but it's nice to see other people's preferences and reasons and experiences. I'm happy that no one has come and outright said no Shaolin is horrible etc and that's good enough for me. I will keep all the other suggestions in mind for the future in case I wish to change or supplement with something else.


     


    Won't be starting my Shaolin immediately, probably in the next couple of weeks, but will let you guys know how it goes. 


     


    Feel free to keep discussing your preferences in this thread for other people's benefit :)


  • I've come late to this party, but I thought I'd add a couple of thoughts for future consideration:


     


    Hapkido --  Historically the Korean Royal Martial Art, its modern version includes much of the key philosophy and dynamic sphere techniques of Akido, as well as striking, grappling, pinning, throwing, and weapons techniques, constant attack, combat and meditative  (similar to Tai Chi) forms, how to fall, mediation, and medicine.  The founders of modern Hapkido and Akido, both studied with the same master.


     


    One of the most well rounded schools, but because to encompasses so much it can take a long time to both understand it and master it.


     


    Jeet Kune Do -- I didn't see anyone mention it  While hard to find people who actually trained with Bruce Lee or from that lineage, if you do, you can get great insights into the physics of a body applied to the destruction or incapacitation of another.  One caveat, even at its best, JKD, seems to have calcified a bit.  Lee thought deeply about martial arts, analyzed everything he could, and continued to experiment to improve what he did.  Like many things carrying on a legacy, JKD schools may teach everything Lee did until his death, but few seem to carry on his spirit of constant questioning and improvement.


     


    That said, I highly recommend you get a copy of Teri Tom's book, The Straight Lead: The Core of Bruce Lee's Jun Fat Jeet Kune Do.  An entire book dedicated to a punch!  IMHO -- Just brilliantly written and conceived.  She has her detractors.  She operates in a competitive field.  But if you want to harness your body, physics, and momentum to hit something as hard and as fast as possible, start with Teri's book.


     


    I guarantee you'll find yourself spending a great deal of time running through key scenes in old Bruce Lee movies one frame at a time.  Teri Tom did.  I think she deserves a Pulitzer Prize.

  • edited July 2013

    I would read Bruce Lee's philosophies on martial arts. Bruce Lee was interested in nothing but practicality like Katolotus suggested martial art should be. 


     


    I'm sure you would like it. :)

     


    There is some disagreement in jeet kune do, one side says; "Anything is jeet kune do, thats what Bruce Lee said" and the other that says: "We should express ourselves freely in combat, like Bruce said; use no limitation as limitation, but if you're going to teach something Bruce didn't teach; don't call it jeet kune do, because you're using his name or life-work for profit".


     


    Even if you train classical karate if you read a little bit of Bruce Lee, he'll change the way you look at martial arts for the better for ever.


    ---

  • I have a


     




    I've come late to this party, but I thought I'd add a couple of thoughts for future consideration:


     


    Hapkido --  Historically the Korean Royal Martial Art, its modern version includes much of the key philosophy and dynamic sphere techniques of Akido, as well as striking, grappling, pinning, throwing, and weapons techniques, constant attack, combat and meditative  (similar to Tai Chi) forms, how to fall, mediation, and medicine.  The founders of modern Hapkido and Akido, both studied with the same master.


     


    One of the most well rounded schools, but because to encompasses so much it can take a long time to both understand it and master it.


     


    Jeet Kune Do -- I didn't see anyone mention it  While hard to find people who actually trained with Bruce Lee or from that lineage, if you do, you can get great insights into the physics of a body applied to the destruction or incapacitation of another.  One caveat, even at its best, JKD, seems to have calcified a bit.  Lee thought deeply about martial arts, analyzed everything he could, and continued to experiment to improve what he did.  Like many things carrying on a legacy, JKD schools may teach everything Lee did until his death, but few seem to carry on his spirit of constant questioning and improvement.


     


    That said, I highly recommend you get a copy of Teri Tom's book, The Straight Lead: The Core of Bruce Lee's Jun Fat Jeet Kune Do.  An entire book dedicated to a punch!  IMHO -- Just brilliantly written and conceived.  She has her detractors.  She operates in a competitive field.  But if you want to harness your body, physics, and momentum to hit something as hard and as fast as possible, start with Teri's book.


     


    I guarantee you'll find yourself spending a great deal of time running through key scenes in old Bruce Lee movies one frame at a time.  Teri Tom did.  I think she deserves a Pulitzer Prize.




    ==========================


     




    I would read Bruce Lee's philosophies on martial arts. Bruce Lee was interested in nothing but practicality like Katolotus suggested martial art should be. 


     


    I'm sure you would like it. :)

     


    There is some disagreement in jeet kune do, one side says; "Anything is jeet kune do, thats what Bruce Lee said" and the other that says: "We should express ourselves freely in combat, like Bruce said; use no limitation as limitation, but if you're going to teach something Bruce didn't teach; don't call it jeet kune do, because you're using his name or life-work for profit".


     


    Even if you train classical karate if you read a little bit of Bruce Lee, he'll change the way you look at martial arts for the better for ever.




    ==========================


    I have a buddy who does jeet kune do and loves it, his head is always burried in this book by Bruce Lee in class lol


    Never Stop Moving: Progress in some aspect of your life everyday, move forward in it, whether it be your job, school, body, mind, or relationships. Constantly better yourself!

  • katolotuskatolotus ✭✭✭

    Are you looking for something that you might not get addicted to? ;-)


    Katolotus

    MMA Fighter

     

    SUCCESS: A lot of little things done well

  • I would also highly recommend BJJ.  It's submission grappling but at the white belt level is heavily concentrated on survival (not getting tapped or choked out). 


     


    Most gyms will have a program for what you're looking for.  If you're just wanting to train and get better or if you want to compete. 


     


    Like was mentioned, BJJ is a chess match at most points in the fight.  If I move here, he'll do this and then I can do this, etc... It's very humbling as well.


     


    Normally BJJ is mixed with Muay Thai to mix in a striking art for either self defense or MMA. Muay Thai is also a very good self defense are art as it's stand is setup for blocking with your hands, forearms and legs (open stance guarding your face).


     


    I have been taking BJJ for about a  year now and it's been great.  I haven't done much Muay Thai just because I've really been focusing on BJJ and can't go to the gym 5 days a week since i have a family.


     


    If you are in fact in Cape Town South Africa there is a Gracie Academy there: http://www.graciejiujitsu.co.za/


     


    They are the pioneers of modern day BJJ. 


  • I knew a qigong master.  The guy was fat but he can move so quick.  He was teaching me the style at the starting point but I was too busy with work.  He can put a lot of power behind his kicks with little physical effort.  if he was to do it with actual full force he could do some serious damage.  Qigong is an internal martial arts and very powerful, don't let the soft style fool you.   


  • katolotuskatolotus ✭✭✭

    made a choice yet?


    Katolotus

    MMA Fighter

     

    SUCCESS: A lot of little things done well

  • edited July 2013

    For now I'm pretty sold on Shaolin Kung Fu, I think I have been from the very start but I really appreciate all of the input that you guys have given. I know I've benefited from seeing the other opinions, and I'm sure there are some others out there who will have also benefited from reading through the thread.


     


    Right now I'm reading two different books:


    - The Shaolin Workout: 28 Days to Transforming Your Body and Soul the Warrior's Way: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GNF4VM


    - Tai Chi - The Perfect Exercise: Finding Health, Happiness, Balance, and Strength: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CGNPP5Y


     


    I can't quite remember how I decided on those two particular books to read, I didn't do much comparison between books on similar topics (so I'm sure that there are perhaps some better ones out there).


    My main criteria for choosing them was that 1) they had to be useful and instructive, 2) they needed to include some basic history of the martial arts, and 3) they needed to be short .


     


    I've read through the Shaolin Workout and am starting the 28-day routine today, and I'm about half-way through the Tai Chi book now too.


     


    I understand that reading from a book is absolutely no replacement for actual face-to-face instruction by an experienced teacher, but I wish to get a good basic understanding of the martial art and also work on my flexibility before signing up for any proper classes (more cost effective this way). I also just love reading and am finding them both very fascinating :)


  • yeah books suck. i think traditions are best learned...traditionally. from a teacher who learned from a teacher who learned from a teacher etc. maybe its different for other arts, but i don't feel like people who've read up on capoeira before coming to my class have much more of an idea of what they're getting into than someone who just saw a brief clip of it on TV or something. books are okay for an outsider's perspective, but they inevitably have some bias and agenda that they are pushing. maybe not as big of a deal in an art that is more standardized.


  • katolotuskatolotus ✭✭✭

    Sounds like the dance instructor vs the book worm ;-)


     


    FIGHT!


    Katolotus

    MMA Fighter

     

    SUCCESS: A lot of little things done well

  • edited July 2013

    There is a surprising amount of finesse and technique to BJJ, esp with the gi as opposed to no gi. I don't understand the "too competitive" thing. Wouldn't that just motivate you to continue to train and improve? Trust me you'll need motivation bc there's no way you're going to be any good right off the bat. I don't care how competitive you are. You're going to get smashed by everyone for at least a few months until you can even hang with the beginners and everyone learns to tap before they get hurt pretty early.


     


    On the pus side you'll be learning something that's actually practical and effective for self defense. Biggest issue with BJJ guys when it comes to a real fight is they lose it when someone starts throwing punches. But if you know a few good sweeps and chokes you're way ahead of the average person and most fights end up on the ground. Still wouldn't advise pulling guard in a street fight...


     


    There is a reason you don't see Kung Fu in the UFC (and it's not because it's too deadly for sports or some other nonsense). It is just straight up not effective. Honestly I wouldn't waste my time.


     


    Here is a great example of how all that esoteric nonsense goes in a real fight. It's actually kind of sad to see this kung fu "master" just get his ass handed to him when his chi ball doesn't work.


     



     


     


    (edit for typos.)


  • @Shady, part of it is just that competitiveness tends to cause me a lot of unnecessary stress. I try to avoid as much stress as possible in my life.


     


    The other part is that I'm very much a pacifist to some degree. I live in South Africa where violence is very much rampant, and I've had family members that were jailed for refusing to join the army during the racist Apartheid movement. I understand that being trained to fight in a safe controlled environment such as BJJ as mentioned above is a sensible conclusion for wanting to avoid or survive violence in real life. It's just not enough reason though :)

  • another reason i love capoeira. its got a nice balance of competitiveness and cooperation. you want to win definitely, but you win by injuring/killing metaphorically instead of actually damaging your comrade's body, saving the deadly potential in case there is some random moment where you really need it. the chess analogy kinda holds up here too, its all about strategy, technique, and slickness over power and speed. i don't see how folks maintain the motivation to practice arts that result in injuries on a regular basis. i suspect its some weird blend of masochism, sadism, and some urge to prove that you're the alpha male. I really don't think someone's MMA stats has any indication of how likely they are to have a longer life, or even necessarily to be able to defend themselves if they were attacked on the street.


     


    ...and no, thats not a challenge to anyone, just me justifying how much of a wuss i am. carry on with the brawling. 


  • Having some moderate martial arts experience to date, and planning on delving deeply into it and competing in the near future, I believe I can offer some good suggestions. To be honest, I'm not quite familiar with all the martial arts you originally posted that you had access to, but Qi Gong in the strictest sense would be the most peculiar and useful to me - both lowers stress and teaches you how to channel and use stress, thus becoming more resilient to it; it's meditative; it's a form of a light workout; socialization; etc. I have experience with wrestling - both folkstyle and a bit of freestyle, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and a year of karate. I personally enjoy the grappling martial arts because that's what I have experience with, but I'd love to do some Thai Boxing or Eskrima.


     


    For your purposes/wants/needs I would do the Qi Gong/Tai Chi activities, or for an actual 'martial art', karate can be very meditative if you have a good environment and decent instructor(s). All martial arts have a mindfulness/meditative aspect, because if you're not 'in the now' while doing it, you won't benefit or if you're competing/sparring you will essentially get your ass kicked, lol. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to me is very meditative, although it gets intense. As others have recommended I would look up some Krav Maga places, because I hear they typically aren't very competitive because you aren't doing it for competitions sake - you'd basically be doing some 'active meditation', socialization, a light workout, and getting in a very efficient self-defense class. Another would be Eskrima, if I remember correctly that is stick fighting and what not. Another great one would be Ninjitsu - it isn't frequently used in competition, and if it ever is they Ninjitsu practitioner doesn't really fare well, but outside of the cage/dojo/mat a Ninjitsu practitioner can probably kill another martial artist (so I've heard, lol). Let us know how it goes!


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    Natural ability without education has more often raised a man to glory and virtue than education without natural ability. - Marcus Aurelius 

  • systema is also worth a look for what you're looking for.

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