How Do I Pick a Martial Art?
Many people have an idea of what they think martial arts are. Often these ideas are shaped by media imagery and urban myth; through identification with cult classics and computer games. Sometimes people dabble with different martial arts looking for the ideal they have in their mind, often feeling the need to mix different martial art styles together, in order to gain a well rounded skill set, through a misguided belief that more is better. Often the opposite is true; trying to combine martial arts styles can be contradictory and self defeating.
So how can we really know what martial arts actually are, and if they are for us?
When searching on the internet we can start to get a slightly better feel for what martial arts are through video clips and web sites. Yet still we can't really get a real feel for what martial arts actually are until we try one out. Yet how do we know which one to try out?
A google search for martial arts clubs near to where we live can help a little, but still we may get lots of hits, so we have to decide which to discard and which to put on our short-list to try. The Bujinkan Saffron Walden Martial Arts Dojo is in Essex; if we take Essex as an example, how do we find a martial art style to try? Well, according to google, in Essex there are at least 122 different martial arts clubs. So how can we distinguish between these different Essex martial arts to find the one that suites our temperament? Well, we can start by splitting them into two main classes, sports martial arts, and traditional martial arts:
The sports martial arts have evolved with an emphasis on winning competitions. This means that they have developed very efficient methods for scoring points from adapted traditional martial art methods. These martial arts impose rules of what is allowed and what is not. This is mainly for safety reasons in competitions. The main disadvantage to this approach is that with the rules come restrictions, which leads to habits that can inhibit adaptability in real-life self-defence situations. Sports martial arts are great for fitness and ideal for those who want an emphasis on competition rather than self-defence.
The traditional martial arts are the core root of the sports martial arts; sports martial arts have developed from traditional martial arts. But unlike the sports martial arts, their emphasis is more about survival in combat situations rather than winning points in competitions. With traditional martial arts there are no competitions, which means no rules to constrain technique. This means that with training in traditional martial arts, you will learn to be more adaptable to real-life self-defence situations; more able to change with the unforeseen circumstances that can arise during self-defence situations. There are no restrictions due to competition rules in traditional martial arts, which means the techniques you learn may not be appropriate for competition fighting, because they are designed to protect your life, not win points. Thus, some traditional martial arts techniques may be too dangerous for use in a competition environment.
With the difference between sports martial arts and traditional martial arts in mind, when deciding which martial art to try from our selection of over 122 Essex martial arts schools, we have to really think hard about what we actually want to get from it. Do we want fitness with a little physical contact? Do we want to learn to defend ourselves? Do we want to do less self-defence and more controlled fighting? Do we want to train using weapons? Do we want to practice a sport with rules? Do we want to practice a traditional martial art that will give us the ability to adapt to any situation, to be able to defend ourselves, family, and friends in any conceivable way?
If you mainly want fitness and competition, then a sports martial arts style maybe for you. If you just want fitness, with less traditional martial art content, but lots of physical fighting, then boxing, kick-boxing, or muay thai maybe the style you are looking for. If you want to learn in-depth self-defence techniques and traditional martial art skills passed on for centuries, then a traditional martial art is definitely what you are looking for.
If you are looking for a traditional martial art from the list of many Essex martial arts dojos, then you can get no better than the nine lineages taught in the martial art Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu; the martial art we teach at the Bujinkan Saffron Walden Dojo, in Saffron Walden, Essex. With this martial art you will gain fitness whilst training in the traditional Japanese techniques passed on from grandmaster to grandmaster for over ten centuries. This is a full contact traditional martial art which teaches armed and unarmed combat techniques for the protection of self and others.
If you would like to know more about the nine martial arts lineages of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu taught at our martial arts club, then please read further the content of this site starting from the Bujinkan Saffron Walden Martial Arts Dojo home page.
Next Article: The Samurai Myth.